(lightworkermom) from KITTY HAWK, NC
Reviewed on 5/29/2007...
A solid saxophonist whose style falls on the RB-ish and pop side of jazz, Boney James (who is heavily influenced by Grover Washington Jr.) is a consistent best-seller who can always be relied upon to put on a colorful live show. Born James Oppenheim, he grew up in New Rochelle, NY. The future Boney James studied clarinet when he was eight, switching to saxophone two years later. When he was 15, his family moved to Los Angeles. James was soon playing in a fusion band (Line One) which was strong enough to open for Flora Purim and the Yellowjackets. After a year attending U.C. Berkeley, he transferred to U.C.L.A. so he could continue playing with the band. He earned a degree in history but became a full-time musician after graduation, doubling on keyboards. James went on the road as a keyboardist with Morris Day in 1985 and eventually convinced Day that he should be playing saxophone instead. He spent four years with Day and became in-demand for guest spots on tenor, alto, soprano, and flute, playing with Randy Crawford, Sheena Easton, the Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell, and others. He picked up his nickname while on tour with Crawford. After mentioning to a keyboardist that he was running out of food money, the musician replied that if he ate any less, he would have to be called Boney James. The popular saxophonist made his debut as a leader with Spindletop in 1992 (Trust) and then in 1994 was signed by Warner Bros., where he recorded dates including Backbone, Seduction, Boney's Funky Christmas, Sweet Thing, and Shake It Up.