Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Boney James

Berks0_BoneyJames1.jpgSaturday evening the ever reliable Boney James was scheduled to appear at the Sovereign Performing Arts centre. The house was packed and the show seemed to be sold out. The sax player came with a young band of great players who weren't familiar to me but delivered a solid foundation of phat grooves for Boney to ride on. Boney James has found his voice on the instrument and is easily recognizable, his unique style allows him to communicate through his instrument freely and evoke fond reactions in his fans, many of them female who didn't hide their appreciation of the music. The mood of the music was mostly laid back but the inner fire in Boney's playing generated quite some intensity, sometimes even with a touch of Gato Barbieri. He played several songs from his current release Shine, among them the beautiful "In The Rain" or the gentle bossa nova of "Aquas De Marco (Waters Of March)" where his soprano interplayed nicely with the keys. A great moment of the concert was during the song "Stone Groove" when all the band members exited, leaving the stage to Boney and his drummer who engaged in a very inspired and improvisational interplay, delivering the jazziest moment of the festival for me so far - pure bliss! Boney did also his famous strolls into the audience, once to serenade a lovely woman with his saxophone, and later to visit even the people in the back and on the balcony. The extremly palatable mix of jazz and urban elements delivered by one of the greatests talents on the sax yielded another great evening leaving the capacity crowd in a happy and satisfied state.