Peterson, who inspired the Acid Jazz movement in the 90s, started acting as his mentor and producer on three records of nu jazz-urban soul. Even after a number of high-profile collaborations though market performance was lackluster. Josè James therefore decided to abandon Gilles Peterson, finance the record himself and co-produce it, eventually reaching a distribution deal with Blue Note Records.
The result is good; Jose James still explores a number of styles and genres, but without the explicit intent of surprising the listener as he did in the past. His voice is mature, warm and elegant and in “Do you feel” he mixes gospel, blues, jazz and soul. Mid-tempo tracks make up the bulk of the record, with tracks like “It’s all over” with a nice groove and echoes of dub, and “Trouble” with its funky bass line. The record also showcases his modern jazz influences (“Vanguard”) and Moroccan/Afro influences (Sword + Gun). There’s also some space for straight-up chart pop (“Come to my door”) and traditional duets (with Emily King on “Heaving on the ground”).
In spite of an unquestionably high-level musical production on “No Beginning No End” not everything works. The title track for example carries a heavy influence from D’Angelo pieces that have by now become repetitive.
“No beginning no end” is an intimate, sincere record. It doesn’t particularly innovate or break new ground, but it revels a mature author and performer that, like whisky, will probably become increasingly memorable with the passing of time.
“It’s all over your body”
“Sword + Gun (Feat. Hindi Zahra)”
“Come to my door”
“Heaven on the ground (Feat Emily King)”
“Do you feel”
“Make it right”
“Bird of space”
“No beginning no end”
“Come to my door (acoustic)” – Bonus Track