James Francies has a love affair with the piano. It’s apparent when you hear him play. We had that opportunity when he visited Afternoon Jazz to promote Flight, his debut album, recently released on Blue Note.
Francies, a 23-year-old native of Houston, is proud to be the latest link in his hometown’s jazz heritage. He brought two of his “homies” with him to WBGO: bassist Burniss Travis and drummer Jeremy Dutton.
This trio of native sons played his compositions “Sway” and “Dark Purple.” They also sizzled on a pair of songs dedicated to their beloved Houston: “713” (the main Houston area code) and “Crib,” which you can watch here.
While he brought an intimate trio to Afternoon Jazz, Francies will be performing with a larger ensemble at the two-day release party for Flight, at the Jazz Standard on Thursday and Friday. Kate Kelsey-Sugg, who ignites Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” will on hand with fellow vocalists Yebba and Chris Turner; saxophonist Chris Potter; and guitarist Mike Moreno, another Houston native.
A larger sound for sure, but the passion of the affair between Francies and his keyboard will be apparent to all, as it was to all who heard him on Afternoon Jazz.