Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

1

Boney James: Futuresoul

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
At this point, with 15 albums under his belt, it's been established what Boney James does and does not do well. If you are in search of an adventurous artist who is constantly pushing the envelope and challenging himself and the listener by daring to deviate from expectation, keep looking: this is not the saxophonist you are looking for.

James is an extremely impressive master of the good groove. That is something he is at the top of his profession in his ability to get funky with it. For those familiar with and already hooked on James' faithful style of R&B and jazz, Futuresoul rewards your patience since The Beat (Concord, 2013) with multiple moments designed to make heads bob, fingers snap and feet dance.

The snappy opener, "Drumline" gets the party started goosed along by Jarius Mozee's scratchy guitar lines and Kennnan Ephriam's drum kit playing off of James' tenor sax soloing. Equally sweet to the ear is the Old School throwback, "Vinyl" which fondly recalls Grover Washington Jr. at his "Mister Magic" best.

There are only two vocal tracks but they're both way above average. Switching to alto sax on "Watchu' Gon' Do About It?," James gives newcomer Nikeita Crichlow a chance to shine as she contributes a smoky vocal to the tune she co-wrote with James and Mozee. It will be on "Repeat" in many a car stereo and so will "Either Way" featuring Stokley Williams from Eighties soul group Mint Condition.

Futuresoul is front-loaded with its best moments in its first five tracks. The second half sags a bit as "Hand In Hand," "Fortuneteller," "The Moment" and "Futuresoul" don't bring enough effort to make them much more than pleasanty forgettable filler.

The closer, "Far From Home" finds James going toe-to-toe with the understated grace of Marquis Hill's trumpet and more than holding his own. Add in Tim Carman's acoustic piano fills and Vinnie Colaiuta's drumming and James provides ample evidence he can play it straight when the mood strikes him.

Futuresoul is unlikely to convert the skeptic into a Boney James believer, but for the legions of listeners already initiated, this is a great way to kickoff the Summer of 2015.

Track Listing: Drumline; Vinyl; A Little Attitude; Watchu Gon' Do About It?; Either Way; Hand In Hand; Fortuneteller; The Moment; Futuresoul; Far From Home

Personnel: Boney James: tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, keyboards, acoustic piano, drum programming; Craig Brockman: keyboards; Jarius Mozee: guitar, bass, drum programming; Kennan Ephriam: live drums, drum programming; Lenny Castro: percussion; Gerald McCauley: electric piano, synthesiser; Rob Bacon: guitar; Omari Williams: drums; Nutty P. Beats: drum programming, synth bass, synthesizers; Alex Al: bass; Nikeita Crichlow: background vocals; Stokley Williams: vocals; Darrell Smith: keyboards, keyboard bass; drum programming; Tim Carman: acoustic piano, B3 organ, acoustic piano fills; Phil Davis: keyboards; Dwayne "Smitty" Smith: bass; Dwele: keyboards, drum programming; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums

Title: Futuresoul | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Concord Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Rendering" CD/LP/Track Review Rendering
by Mark Christian Miller
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Departures" CD/LP/Track Review Departures
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Organ Monk Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk Blue
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Tangofied III" CD/LP/Track Review Tangofied III
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 13, 2017