Art Works Blog

Art Talk with Jazz Pianist James Francies

Houston native James Francies learned early on that he had perfect pitch. That gift, along with untold hours of practice, has made him one of the most sought-after pianists playing today. After graduating from the presitigous Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Francies earned a full scholarship to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. While there, he studied with and befriended 2018 NEA Jazz Master Joanne Brackeen. Her deep respect for Francies's skills resulted in the young pianist performing two of her compositions at this year's NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert. [He plays at the 1:05:35 mark.] Did I mention he’s only 22 years old? (Well, for two more days that is. He turns 23 on July 12. Happy birthday, James!)

In this audio piece, we talked with Francies about his emerging career, his upcoming debut Blue Note recording, and his mentor Joanne Brackeen.

Stay tuned for our announcement of the 2019 class of NEA Jazz Masters tomorrow!

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