James Francies, hottest young talent in jazz, coming to Tempe Center for the Arts on Feb. 23
James Francies, the hottest young talent in jazz, comes to Tempe Center for the Arts on Feb 23.
It is an honor anytime Lakeshore Music can bring an artist like James Francies to Tempe Center for the Arts, but even more so when the hottest young talent in jazz music performs during Black History Month.
Francies, 24, comes to the beautiful TCA Lakeside Room on Feb.23, fresh off an appearance eight days earlier at The Kennedy Center in New York in its Discovery Artist Series. He opened the new year at New York’s Winter Jazzfest.
In 2018 Francies, who frequently performs with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, played in the Con Edison-Town Hall Black History Month celebration on Broadway for 4,500 New York City school children. The shows are part of the curriculum to introduce students to the arts and enhance their understanding of African-American contributions.
“Being a young Black pianist who travels the world may not be typical. I try to show younger people that you can be something,” Francies told International Musician. “Beyond music, it’s how you carry yourself.”
In between New York City and international tours, Francies returns to teach master classes at his old school, Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
“I enjoy being able to describe life through sound,” Francies said. “To me, that's what makes music relevant, speaking on a subject without words.”
The meteoric rise of the keyboardist and composer includes signing with the esteemed Blue Note Records as a 20-year-old sophomore at the prestigious School of Jazz at The New School in New York. He dropped his first album, “Flight,” last October. He wrote or co-wrote all but one track.
He has appeared on Chance The Rapper’s 2016 “No Problem,” which won two Grammys, and has toured across five continents, playing with jazz headliners like Pat Metheny, while still in school earning his BFA.
“Always play from your heart, with empathy and authenticity," he told Downbeat's Ted Pankin. "It doesn’t matter where you are. I’d play the same in front of you for an hour as I would with The Roots in front of thousands of people. There’s a saying, ‘If you’re always ready, then you never have to be ready.'"
Lakeshore Music is very proud – and always ready – to present James Francies.
Tickets are $37 (plus service fees) and on sale at tempecenterforthearts.com and (480) 350-2822.