Boney James is Contemporary Jazz's Ultimate Musical Provocateur
Boney James is a contemporary jazz funk meister
One of the most dynamic saxophonists in jazz blew through Houston on February 11th with a concert that was thought to be a highly evolved presentation of funk. Anyone with any conceivable knowledge of Boney James will recognize him as the ultimate funkateer; however, he also manages the versatility to exhibit a high degree of sensitivity as well.
Riding high on his latest CD entitled ‘Shine’ recorded on the Concord Record Label, Boney electrified the stages of Houston’s Verizon Wireless Theater under the auspices of KHJZ 95.7 “The Wave” with air personality Donna Franklin serving as the evening’s host. When introduced by Ms. Franklin, James hit the stage with a highly eclectic musical mix of funk, R&B, pop and smooth jazz conveyances. He delighted the audience with such hits as The Dramatics’ highly emotional track entitled “In The Rain,” Hugh Masakela’s “Grazing’ In The Grass,” “Shine” and many other tunes he could compact into a one night performance. His brand of jazz has been called smooth by many standards of critical acceptance; however, Boney is very comfortable in practically every contemporary setting. When presenting his style of play to the masses, he draws upon many levels of musical influences and abilities.
Whenever Boney James comes to Houston, anyone attending his show will know immediately they are in for a funk fest at the highest level of entertainment. For more than an hour, the Lowell, Massachuettes native cavorted across the stage with tunes from ‘Shine’ and many of his most memorable and prolific albums. With a near capacity crowd in attendance, the Verizon Wireless Theater was presented with some of Boney James' best recorded music since starting his solo career in 1992. What is even more profound is Boney’s ability to woo audiences wherever he goes, especially in a city such as Houston. Although it is the 4th largest in the United States and is filled with many diversely different forms of entertainment, Houston is not always receptive to jazz as a form of entertainment. But every now and again, KHJZ 95.7 “The Wave” comes through with a show that reeks of excitement. The station does so in a manner whereby jazz connoisseurs will come out of their vacuum of indifference to show their support.
As a major influence, Boney James has always pushed the envelope of entertainment from the very onset of his career in 1992. His style of jazz is etched in R&B influences and can be traced back to tenures with Morris Day, The Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford, Teena Marie and a host of others. In addition, Boney’s highly energized display of funk and circumstance on stage and in his recordings is what makes him so popular amongst R&B and contemporary jazz aficionados. Evidence of this fact can be found in the number of times Boney has charted in the “Top Ten” on any number of musical polls. On the night of February 11th, he made those facts known at Houston’s Verizon Wireless Theater with any number of tracks from his nine albums. By the end of the evening, Boney’s image as contemporary jazz’s ultimate funk meister was still intact as he left his appreciative fans clamoring for more of one of the finest performances to flow through Houston’s jazz river of difference.
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