Don’t be misguided by the title of his latest album. It is definitely pure jazz on Purest Form (2021), yet at the same time pianist James Francies effortlessly and tirelessly explores the boundaries of his compositions and those of others. He combines organic sounds with electronic dance beats and samples and continuously searches for new sonic textures. His interpretation of My Favorite Things reminded JazzTimes of Frank Zappa’s Synclavier period. Purest Form is Francies’ second album with Blue Note, following his debut Flight (2018) that had critics raving about his “dizzyingly quick playing” and “fluid dynamics”. Francies’ versatility brought him collaborations with, among others, Childish Gambino, Pat Metheny, Mark Ronson, The Roots, and Lauryn Hill. That is mindboggling when you know the Houston-born talent is only 27.