On April 9, 2013, saxophonist Boney James released his latest contribution to the smooth jazz genre. The Beat, a collection of ten covers and originals in the R&B, Latin and smooth jazz styles, is an eclectic yet well-blended assortment of instrumental and vocal songs. According to Boney James, “this record was born of my love for both Latin and R&B music and became a mash-up of the two genres. The initial inspiration for the record was Sergio Mendes’ ‘Batucada (The Beat),’ which I re-imagined as a funk tune.”

The Beat is Boney’s fourteenth album as an artist and it marks his return to Concord Records. James wrote or co-wrote eight of the ten tracks on the album including “Powerhouse” and “Acalento (Lullaby).” The album features guests such as trumpetist Rick Braun on “Batucada”, vocalist Raheem DeVaughn on “Maker of Love” and the spoken-word artist, The Floacist on “The Midas.”

The Beat opens with an instrumental version of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” featuring Boney James on soprano sax over a Latin-influenced track. Following the opening tune is “Sunset Boulevard,” a relaxing piece with a catchy bass riff and fluid melody performed by James on tenor sax. The stand-out track on the album is “Missing You” with it’s ethereal keyboards and guitars and elegant melody. The album closes with the laid back track “You Can Count on Me.”

Boney James was born in Lowell, Massachusetts where he begin playing the clarinet at the age of 8 and saxophone at the age of 10. At the age of 14, James and his family moved to Los Angeles and he received a degree in History from UCLA. After graduation, however, he began to perform professionally as a full-time musician with The Time/Purple Rain alum band, the Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Crawford, Teena Marie and many others.

Throughout his career, Boney James has received significant recognition for his work as a composer, producer and performer. James is not only a three-time Grammy Award nominee, but a Soul Train Award winner and NAACP Image Award nominee (both for Best Jazz Album). He has four RIAA Certified Gold Records and he has been Number 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts and in the Top 10 on the R&B Charts.

With a resume like the one Boney James possesses, it’s needless to say that the majority of what he releases as an artist is of top caliber. For those who love contemporary jazz or instrumental R&B, this project is consistent with Boney James’ previous releases and smooth style, so we recommend it. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.

Get The Beat on Amazon

Title: The Beat
Artist: Boney James
Date: April 09, 2013
Genre: Jazz, Smooth Jazz
Label: Concord Records


01 Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
02 Sunset Boulevard
03 Missing You
04 Batucada
05 Maker of Love
06 Mari’s Song
07 Powerhouse
08 The Midas (This is Why)
09 Acalento (Lullaby)
10 You Can Count on Me

Get The Beat on Amazon

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.