by Boney JamesBoney James


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Saxophonist and composer Boney James has been on a roll during the second decade of the 21st century. His three studio albums -- Contact, The Beat, and Futuresoul -- have all topped the jazz charts (the later for 11 weeks); in addition, the first decade netted another in Shake It Up, as well as a handful of number twos. Honestly is his 16th album, and finds him celebrating his 25th anniversary as a solo artist after stints with Morris Day and the Isley Brothers. While his tone and phrasing are instantly recognizable, the production aesthetic on Honestly differs considerably from Futuresoul. Arrangements are a bit sparser, leaving more room for each instrument in the mix: his horn, keys, and drum programming, as well as the session players on guitars, basses, and other keyboards, including a lovely Rhodes piano on the airy opener "Kicks." Vocalist Avery Sunshine assists on the title track single, a lyric presentation of neo-soul that dovetails with the contemporary jazz aesthetic. She is resonant and sultry as James adds ballast in his saxophone fills and synth tags. "Tick Tock" is the instrumental single co-produced Jarius Mozee (Anthony Hamilton, Robin Thicke). Not only does it dig into contemporary R&B, it harkens back to the glory days of CTI and Kudu with its lush horn section, grand piano fills, and James pulling out his best Grover Washington, Jr. in his funky phrasing and solo. "On the Prowl uses a B-3 and a celeste to get at a film noir vibe with guitars accenting blues changes in a minor key as James blows a nocturnal melody. "We Came to Party" has an early Earth Wind & Fire feel, as it lays back through the opening lyrics and choruses to break wide open during the solo saxophone to become a beat-conscious celebration. The biggest surprise is a spectral yet lovely cover of Hoagy Carmichael's standard "Skylark," delivered with restraint and elegance. With an acoustic piano at the forefront, James' horn delivers a contemporary urban tinge. It's followed by another understated soul jam, "If I Can't Hold You," with a fine lead vocal by Eric Roberson. The album closes with "Up All Night," a party jam with slapped basslines, tight, funky, locking rhythms, hummable sax, and bright horn charts. It's all groove, ready for that moment when the party explodes into wildness. This is James at his best, delivering tight vamps and tasty sax lines in a creative exchange with the rhythm section. By any standard, Honestly is another winner by James, and the charts should respond in kind.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/01/2017
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072033917
catalogNumber: 00560
Rank: 7396

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Boney James   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Hand Clapping,Key Bass
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Dan Higgins   Saxophone
Herman Jackson   Keyboards,Key Bass
David Rideau   Hand Clapping
Darrell Smith   Keyboards
Smitty Smith   Bass,Hand Clapping
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone
Tim Carmon   Organ,Keyboards,Key Bass
Eric Roberson   Vocals
Kenny Barnes   Hand Clapping
Francois Dean   Vocals
David Bonilla   Synthesizer
Omari Williams   Drums,Hand Clapping,Hi Hat
Avery Sunshine   Vocals
Kendall Gilder   Guitar
Brandon Coleman   Bass,Keyboards
Kendall Glider   Guitar
Rob Bacon   Guitar
Jairus Mozee   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Nutty P Beats   Keyboards,Key Bass

Technical Credits

Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Boney James   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Horn Arrangements,drum programming
Jerry Hey   Horn Arrangements
Herman Jackson   Composer
Dana Johnson   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
David Rideau   Engineer
Darrell Smith   Composer
Tim Carmon   Composer,Producer
Eric Roberson   Composer
Francois Dean   Composer
David Bonilla   Composer,drum programming
Anna Tes   Art Direction
Lily Mariye   Foley Artists
Brandon Coleman   Composer,drum programming
Denise White   Composer
Jairus Mozee   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Nutty P Beats   drum programming
Malcolm Eric Murray   Composer
ThaWorkAHolikz   Producer

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