October 12, 2013. Nominated for three Grammy awards and a Soul Train winner for Best Jazz Album, Boney James is one of only a few contemporary jazz artists who can accurately be described as having superstar status. Nine of his albums have reached number 1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz listing while two of them have reached the top 10 on the R&B albums chart. In fact it is perhaps the way Boney seamlessly fuses jazz with R & B that really makes him stand out from the crowd and stand out he certainly did when opening the Smooth Jazz Cruise – West Coast Edition with a performance that will live long in the memory.
Boney has been busy this year showcasing his latest
CD ‘The Beat’ and it was a
disappointment to no-one that much of his show comprised songs from this collection. These included the title cut for which he was
joined on stage by longtime
collaborator Rick Braun and of course ‘Maker
Of Love’ which on the album includes velvety vocals from Raheem DeVaughn
but here was in the capable hands of guitarist and singer Rob Bacon.
Bacon again came up big for
the title track from Boney’s 2001 Grammy nominated ‘Ride’ and James stayed with this seminal recording for ‘Grand Central’ that perfectly showed off
his effortless playing and sumptuous tone.
Going all the way back to
1995 and the ‘Seduction’ project
Boney came up with the fabulous ‘Ain’t No
Sunshine’ before fast forwarding three years to the title cut from ‘Sweet Thing’. Both were received with rapture by an
audience who were certainly ‘up for it’ and given the occasion was all about
the energy Boney responded by calling back Rick Braun for a high octane
rendition of ‘Grazing In The Grass’
that can be found on their 2000 collaborative effort ‘Shake It Up’.
Make no mistake, this was a sensational start to what has been billed as the greatest party at sea and the pressure is now on those who follow to hit the standard so impeccably set by the great Boney James.