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Boney James (early show)
October 26 @ 7:30 pm
Four-time GRAMMY nominee and multi-platinum selling sax-man Boney James continues his artistic evolution with his latest release and 16th album Honestly.
Honestly follows futuresoul, James’ 2015 release which spent eleven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. The New York Times raved, “Boney James performs with panache…His arc as a soloist is emotional…he can paint a scene.”
Honestly, says James, is quite different sounding than the previous record. “It’s more exposed,” he says of the 10-track collection. “Some of the arrangements are not as dense. A number of the songs have a more buoyant, cheerful, happy quality to them.” James produced the record and co-wrote all but one track, his interpretation of the Johnny Mercer-Hoagy Carmichael classic ‘Skylark.’
Born in Lowell, Mass. and raised in New Rochelle, NY, Boney became seriously interested in music in the mid ‘70s, a very vibrant and freewheeling period for popular music. “You could hear different genres all over the radio. Contemporary jazz was everywhere – people like Grover Washington Jr., Herbie Hancock and George Benson were stars,” he marvels. “Artists like Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire were incorporating jazz into what they were doing, and the jazz guys were mixing R&B into their sound. It was a great time to be a young musician.”
By 13, James – born James Oppenheim and nicknamed “Boney” in his mid-20’s when a meager touring per diem saw him growing thinner – was jamming in basements and garages. One summer during college, he found himself sitting in with some friends at a club. “Playing in a real club, with the energy of a real audience was such a fantastic rush,” he remembers. “That was the spark for my decision to become a professional musician.”
Following early pro gigs, (including sideman stints with Morris Day, the Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford and Teena Marie) James released his debut album as a leader, Trust, in 1992.
Over the following 23 years James has racked up sales of more than 3 million records, four RIAA gold albums, four GRAMMY nominations, a Soul Train Award, nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and 10 CD’s atop Billboard’sContemporary Jazz Albums chart. In 2009 Billboard magazine named him the #3 Contemporary Jazz Artist Of The Decade (trailing just Kenny G and Norah Jones).
James says, “When people ask me what category my music falls under, I always say, ‘It’s Boney James music’.