Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Boney James The Beat Concord Music 2013

 Back in 2011, Boney James was coming back from a serious auto accident that could have possibly ended his career not to mention his life. Eventually James signed with Universal/Verve and the end result was sadly a release that was as predictible as an Obama State of the Union address and not near as interesting.

What a differenece a year makes, James has resigned with Concord and on April 9th is releasing The Beat which is an off the hook rhthym driven Latin and R&B hybrid that could easily be his finest release to date. The glowing and vibrant album cover is a mirror image of the deep rich color palete James draws from to easily seperate himself away from the "ear-candy" pack that makes up the back bone of the smoother side of jazz. Unlike the razor think difference between most smooth jazz artists or those desperately trying to cross over to a more R&B commercial sound, James welcomes you to the contemporary land of rhythm and groove and rides the beat (pardon the pun) for all it is worth. Guest artists include Raheem De Vaughn, The Floacist and the imcomparable Rick Braun.

"Batucada" (The Beat) reunites James and long time musical compatriot Rick Braun and the resulting edge to their playing is a beat you hear with your feat. Their is an urban AC single dropping in February "Maker of Love" which is James  at his best alongside soulful R&B vocalist Raheem De Vaughn. What makes the release pop with vitality is a world music bent with the addition of UK poet and musician The Floacist. A Euro vibe combined with an R&B groove and more percussion than one band should be legally allowed to utilize in the studio changes up the traditional James sound and turns generic jazz for those that struggle with easy listening to a far more modern contemporary look at different beats, vibes, and harmonic directions. A personal favorite may be the Stevie Wonder cover "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing." The bottom line is there is something heer for all tastes while James expands his musical direction without alienating either his fans or radio and those that work within the industry. A real smoke is "Sunset Boulevard" which is an infectious tune that may have you hitting the repeat button on more than one occassion.

Those that know me and roll in my cultural circle understand my tolerance for smooth jazz is often short lived. There is an exception to every rule with Boney James The Beat my personal exception. Variety, diversity, and a beat that simply will not stop has The Beat as a serious contender as album of the year. Why? The long overdue infusion of Latin music with pop and rhtythm and blues. Thus far James has had nine releases reach number one on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart, two have reached the top ten on the R&B Albums Chart and this my friends is a rare feat for an instrumental artist. Nominated for a Grammy three times, luck should be turning James way.

Mark your calendar or better yet, this release is available through pre-order at Amazon at www.amazon.com

Tracks: Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing; Sunset Boulevard; Missing You; Batucada; Maker of Love; Mari's Song; Powerhouse; The Midas; Acalento; You Can Count On Me.