Boney James, the master of Jazzy R&B is back with a new album......FINALLY! It was originally scheduled to drop in April, but COVID-19 hit and everything was put on hold.
Solid will now release on June 12th, and the album has that signature Boney James style - funky slow & mid-tempo grooves with an unmistakable sax sound that keeps him at the top of the list of the Contemporary instrumentalists.
Solid contains eleven original tracks, and Kenny Lattimore appears on a special collaboration.
James said, "Sometimes, inspiration is slow in coming, evasive and stubborn. Other times, if an artist is very fortunate, it simply flows, the music practically writing itself. That’s how Solid, the latest release from Boney James came to be. “This record really flowed at an unusually quick pace,” Boney says. “There was a lot of positive energy in making this music. Solid is a very upbeat record. As I was writing them, these songs put a smile on my face.”
He has released a few of the tracks prior to the official release of the album, and we will link to some of them in this article.
Review - 'Solid' by Boney James
The album kicks off with Full Effect. Immediately you will hear that the drums are played live, and even though drum machines are the main output for most songs, theres nothing better than live drums. James continues the signature style of a faster sax arrangement over slower grooves. This contrast is is pure Boney James.
The title track, Solid is next. We have a little downbeat funk here and along with that bounce beat, the sax play gives you plenty of room to bob your head. James also layers the sax parts on the hook giving it a harmonizing element. Check out his live version below. One commenter on YouTube called this a Bad Ass Jam. We certainly do not disagree.
The Bottom Line is that if you really want to break it down, well this track is for you. There is a sick organ that plays behind the sax, and don't forget to listen for the nice guitar fills that really complete the song.
Luna is up next. This is one of those tracks that feels like it should be the soundtrack for a closing scene in a film. The song kinda eases in with piano, bass, and sax. The shaker then comes in to introduce the drums. You add some background vocals, and this track is really the definition of cool.
In On The Path, James takes the slow jam to another level. Listening to the sax....It sounds like he is not even trying. It is more like he is just strolling down the street expressing his feelings through the saxophone. When you get to that level of competence, there's literally nothing you cannot do.
James keeps the groove real smooth with Be Here. Kenny Lattimore provides the vocals, and I must say that we need more of this type of ear candy. This is R&B for 2020. Lattimore is an in-demand vocalist for the smooth jazz set and it is easy to understand why.
If you like a downbeat track with some funky rhythm guitar, you will find that here in Tonic. The sax and the guitars play well together, and with an additional horn section on the hook and toward the end of the song. We are sure this track will be a new add to your 'clean the house' playlist. We know you have one of those!
Just So is a song that can easily be a vocal R&B track. It hooks you from the start with the uptempo beat and those keyboard sounds. James then adds his sax over that groove and the result is an infectious song that you will have to play TWO times to get your fix.
Fresh Air is up next. This is one of those tracks that is aptly named, as you can imagine being out in a cool breeze as you take in the song. This is a simple, clean track that you can play during any type of event.
Sundance is a throwback type of track. It has an 80's electro funk bass sound, and if you are not dancing to this, you probably do not have a pulse. I have said this before about James, and it is true here. His sax play really sounds like he is sneaking up on the groove, and that horn style is definitely unique to him.
The project concludes with Last Train Home. Imagine a scene where you had a long night out on the town. This is the song you will hear as you make your way to the platform at the train station. You look up at the monitor and you feel relief as you have not missed that last train. We all have been there, and you will reminisce about one of those nights as you listen to these soothing sounds. This is a great way to end the album.
Solid describes the album in general. From start to finish, this is classic Boney James, and that is all we really want, right?
Be sure to add a few tracks to your favorite playlist after June 12th.