From the Vault...


Boney James
"The Beat"

© Concord Records

Year of Release: 2013

track listing
  • Don't You Worry
    'Bout A Thing
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Missing You
  • Batucada (The Beat)
  • Maker Of Love
  • Mari's Song
  • Powerhouse
  • The Midas (This Is Why)
  • Acalento (Lullaby)
  • You Can Count On Me

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Boney James related sites:
    Boney James Website
    Previous Review: #1432
    Alan Parsons Project--Ammonia Avenue
    Next Review: #1434
    Earth, Wind & Fire--Gratitude
    Boney James
    "The Beat"

    THIS... is.. Smooth Jazz...

    Jazz artist Boney James marks his debut here on WSVNRadio, as this week's Album Pick of the Week. His 2013 release, The Beat reached the #1 position on Billboard's Jazz Album chart, and from it, two songs reached #1 on Billboard's New Age Jazz Songs chart: "Batacuda (The Beat)", and "Powerhouse." For choosing an excellent choice in relaxing, Smooth Jazz music, this is definitely it.

    His real name is James Oppenheim. The Boston Globe points out that he is NOT a smooth jazz player. His music is "muscular and gritty," where most smooth jazz music has "all the texture and complexity of a cue bait." Taking up the clarinet at the young age of 8, he would be influenced by Motown and saxophonist Grover Washington. By the age of 14, he was in a fusion band. Earning a degree in history from UCLA, he was playing music full-time after graduation. By 1985 he was playing keyboards, and was in Morris Day's band, The Time. He would tour with the likes of the Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Crawford, Teena Marie, and others. While touring with Crawford, he earned his stagename, as a bandmate jokinging said, "We'll have to start calling you Boney James."

    In the early 1990s, he recorded his debut album, and in 2000 he teamed with trumpet player Rick Braun for the album Shake It Up. The album reached #1 on the Billboard Jazz charts, and also included guests such as Faith Evans, George Benson, George Duke, Al Jarreau, and others. Another album was released in 2003, and moving to the Concord label, he would achieve much more success with repeating #1 releases.

    The Beat: Leading off the album is "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing," originally recorded by Stevie Wonder. An obvious excellent remake, he puts his own jazz touch to it.. The next two songs definitely have that smooth, relaxing feel: "Sunset Boulevard" and the mood setter "Missing You."

    "Batacuda (The Beat)" is upbeat, funky, cool. Another nice and relaxing number is the next track, "Maker Of Love." Another one to add in the category of "nice and relaxing" is "Mari's Song." The funky beats return on "Powerhouse" and "The Midas (This Is Why)."

    It's nice how you get upbeat, funky tracks, then the relaxing ones: "Acalento (Lullaby)" is another nice and relaxing track. Likewise, the album's closing track, "You Can Count On Me."

    An excellent musician, excellent "Smooth Jazz" tracks, an excellent album. More of Boney James albums will be reviewed in the future here. What's cool about The Beat is the mix of upbeat and relaxing tracks. The mix is great, great music to work by. I'm sure his future releases will be as popular, and most likely reach the #1 spot again. The Beat is a great album. It has the beats, it has the rhythms, it's great to listen to and relax by.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Concord Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1432
    Alan Parsons Project--Ammonia Avenue
    Next Review: #1434
    Earth, Wind & Fire--Gratitude