Celebrated Jazz Saxophonist Boney James Returns to the Southern April 18
Posted: March 25, 2019
Named by Billboard as one of the top three contemporary jazz artists of the decade in 2009, four-time Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/jazz saxophonist, songwriter, and producer Boney James is touring in support of his 16th album, Honestly (2017).
CAPA presents Boney James at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.) on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $30-$60 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Honestly follows futuresoul, James’ 2015 release which spent 11 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.” James plays tenor and soprano saxophone parts on Honestly and contributes keyboards and drum programming to several of the tracks.
His career might have turned out a lot differently had a music store in his native New Rochelle, New York, had his first choice in stock the day he walked inside. “I wanted to play trumpet, but when we went to the store to rent a trumpet, all they had were clarinets, so I went home with a clarinet. Two years later, I guess I was the best clarinet player in a band full of clarinets and the teacher wanted a sax player, so he leaned on me to pick up the saxophone. I didn’t want to do it because it was a much heavier case I’d have to carry. But as soon as I switched, I loved it and it pretty quickly became my favorite thing to do. It still is!”
By the time he entered his teens, James was gigging with bands, and turned pro at 19. He apprenticed as a sideman for artists like Morris Day and the Isley Brothers, picking up pointers on how to present himself onstage and off, and didn’t cut his first album under his own name until he was 30. The independently released Trust led immediately to a major label deal and a string of increasingly successful recordings and live dates.
Over the years, James has racked up sales of more than three million records, four RIAA gold albums, four Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Award, nominations for two NAACP Image Awards, and 10 CDs atop Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. In 2009, Billboard named him one of the Top 3 Contemporary Jazz Artists of The Decade along with Kenny G and Norah Jones.