April 16, 2011

Boney James - Contact

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Over a succession of outstanding albums, Boney James has differentiated himself not only by his penchant for sumptuous sensual melody but also for his collaborations with some of the hottest R & B performers around. His latest CD, Contact (which was released on March 28) delivers on both counts and, in so doing, confirms Boney is the undisputed master of urban contemporary jazz.

Much of the early buzz surrounding Contact has been all about the title cut which also happens to be the first single serviced to radio. Velvety and horn driven it’s a number that shimmers with Boney’s hallmark playing but in terms of the instrumental tracks that this fine collection contains both the contemplative ‘Cry’ and the equally thoughtful ‘Deep Time’ capture to perfection the essence of what Boney James is all about. Elsewhere, ‘There And Back’ is a weighty, heartfelt tune, supercharged with emotion, and although Boney slips back into reflective mode for the tender ‘Everything Matters’, the infectious rhythm of ‘Spin’ provides the ideal backdrop for more of his deliciously understated playing.

Moving much closer to the R & B that Boney so obviously loves, the haunting lilt of ‘Close To You’ includes excellent vocals from Donell Jones while when James calls upon former Destiny’s Child mainstay LeToya Luckett she adds hugely to the wistful yet soul drenched ‘When I Had The Chance’. The performance of Heather Headley on ‘I’m Waiting’ is right on the urban money but as for personal favorites there is nothing to surpass the dance orientated ‘That Look On Your Face’. With dazzling vocals from Mario, a thumping beat and fabulous sax from Boney, this one is sure to play and play.

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at April 16, 2011 7:40 PM