BONEY JAMES: DETOUR
Doors Open: 7:30 PM
Detour, on Concord Records, is chart-topping jazz/R&B sax player Boney James’ 18th studio album. Appropriately titled, this latest album is a subtle stylistic turn that builds on the commercial success of 2020’s Solid, his highest charting release ever on the pop charts, peaking in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200.
“The urge to write again came from the joy of being back on the road, performing in front of live audiences,” explains Boney. “I had shut down creatively when the pandemic hit. It was the disruptive and disorienting detour we all took when the world locked down, and that’s reflected in the more experimental directions some of the new music takes. The thing about a detour, you may take a different route, but you still get to your destination.”
Like Solid, Detour provides a welcome respite from an increasingly foreboding world filled with political strife. It’s a trip through James’ distinctive contemporary jazz/R&B landscapes, layered in quicksilver watercolor images and cinematic set pieces. Detour represents the next extension of Boney James’ trademark blend of genres which includes blues, soul, roots, classical, art-pop and hip-hop.
“There are some people who think I’m a legend,” laughs Boney about his status as one of the best-kept secrets in music. “And others who have never heard of me. It’s kind of a nice place to live and play in. I do sense a great deal of positive energy towards the music I’ve been making recently and for that, I’m tremendously grateful.”
“Coastin’” featuring Lalah Hathaway, a breezy ride through Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway, will be the first single at Urban Adult Contemporary radio. “I am so thrilled to finally have the opportunity to collaborate with Lalah,” says Boney. “I am a huge fan and it was a complete joy to co-write this song and have her come over and sing this amazing performance.”
James’ new album gets underway with the title track, a winding, playful duet between sax and piano evoking a breezy, leisurely drive on an open road, that features some of Boney’s most adventurous playing. “I close my eyes and listen,” he says about choosing a name for a particular cut, and “Detour” fits this one perfectly. “The title is my trying to poetically convey what I feel when I listen to the music.”
There are also “detours” along the way for a steamy, sweaty summer day in a bluesy “Memphis,” a shimmering glimpse of the aurora borealis via Boney’s chill-inducing soprano sax solo (“Northern Lights”) and even the fleeting present moment in the heartbeat which opens the closing “Blur,” a wistful lullaby that still manages to point us to the future.