Capitol Theatre to welcome Boney James Nov. 5

Capitol Theatre to welcome Boney James Nov. 5

Capitol Theatre to welcome Boney James Nov. 5

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Photo courtesy of CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Sax-man Boney James takes the stage Nov. 5 at Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre.

CLEARWATER – Four-time Grammy nominee and multi-platinum selling sax-man Boney James will perform Saturday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

James continues his artistic evolution with the dynamic “futuresoul,” his 15th album released in 2015 on Concord Records. Fusing his love for vintage soul music with his mastery of modern production, James has created another genre-bending work following on the heels of his 2014 Grammy-nominated album “The Beat.”

“The forms I’m working with are rooted in my early influences,” said James in a press release from Concord Records. Among those influences, James named King Curtis, the Stylistics and Earth, Wind & Fire. “But recently I’ve been listening to contemporary artists like Tinashé, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding, and I’m inspired by the sound of their recordings. The production is so cool and evocative. As I started the new record, I was in my backyard studio messing around with this ‘gearhead’ stuff I’ve collected. Ideas started flowing and it sounded like modern soul music to me. I thought to myself, ‘What is this?’ … And then it hit me: ‘futuresoul.’”

“futuresoul” contains 10 original songs produced and written or co-written by James. The album features vocalist and Mint Condition frontman Stokley on “Either Way,” a collaboration enabled by Twitter.

“Like my recent duet with Raheem DeVaughn, I was able to meet Stokley on Twitter and send him the music for this track,” James explained. “He wrote the brilliant lyric and sent me a finished vocal all via email!”

Also featured is rising-star trumpet player Marquis Hill (2014 winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition) on the plaintive “Far From Home.”

Other notable collaborations on the record are title-cut “futuresoul,” co-written and co-produced by neo-soul mainstay Dwele, and “Drumline” and “Watchu Gon’ Do About It?” with co-writer/co-producer Jairus Mozee.

“futuresoul” is the follow-up to “The Beat” (2013), nominated for the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

“Tone, or the ‘sound’ of my horn, is really crucial to me,” said James. “I practice my saxophone in my backyard studio every day when I’m not on the road. I’m still dedicated to trying to be a better player. I spend much of my time with a keyboard next to me and a computer behind me,” he continued. “So when I get a creative idea, I’ll reach over to the keyboard and pick out a few notes or record myself singing a melody. I start gathering pieces. Then I’ll build on them and gradually they’ll turn into songs. I get more and more excited and start spending 14-hour days out there. Before I know it, I’ve made an album. It’s amazing how it happens – like a ball rolling down a hill, it develops its own momentum.”

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and raised in New Rochelle, New York, James became seriously interested in music in the mid ’70s, a very vibrant and freewheeling period for popular music. “You could hear different genres all over the radio. Contemporary jazz was everywhere – people like Grover Washington Jr., Herbie Hancock and George Benson were stars,” James said. “Artists like Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire were incorporating jazz into what they were doing, and the jazz guys were mixing R&B into their sound. It was a great time to be a young musician.”

By 13, James – born James Oppenheim and nicknamed “Boney” in his mid-20s when a meager touring per diem saw him growing thinner – was jamming in basements and garages. One summer during college, he found himself sitting in with some friends at a club.

“Playing in a real club, with the energy of a real audience was such a fantastic rush,” he said. “That was the spark for my decision to become a professional musician.”

Following early pro gigs, (including sideman stints with Morris Day, the Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford and Teena Marie) James released his debut album as a leader, Trust, in 1992.

Over the following 23 years James has racked up sales of more than 3 million records, four RIAA gold albums, four Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Award, nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and 10 CDs atop Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. In 2009 Billboard magazine named him the No. 3 Contemporary Jazz Artist Of The Decade, trailing just Kenny G and Norah Jones.

Tickets start at $30. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.a­tthec­­m.

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