Boney James

Boney James’ personal relationship with music has never been anything but solid. Picking up the sax at age 10 in his native New Rochelle, New York, “I immediately loved it, and it pretty quickly became my favorite hobby.” 

By the time he entered his teens, James was already gigging with bands, and he turned pro at 19. He apprenticed as a sideman for artists like Morris Day and the Isley Brothers, touring and doing sessions for seven years before cutting his first solo album in 1992. The independently released Trust led immediately to a major label deal and a string of increasingly successful recordings and nonstop touring. 

Now a four-time GRAMMY nominee with four RIAA Gold records and career sales topping three million units, James continues to defy genres as a two-time NAACP Award nominee, a Soul Train Award winner and named one of the Top 3 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Decade. 

James says he’s looking forward to heading out on the road and seeing how the material from Solid (the saxophonist/composer’s 17th album as a leader) evolves from night to night. “I love playing live, maybe more than I ever did,” he adds. “That has not gotten old at all. A lot of guys get tired of the traveling but it’s still a joy for me every time I go out there and play.” 

It’s still a joy to his multitude of fans too. “I try to be there for the people who are interested in listening to my music,” says James, “to be solid in that relationship and to never let anybody down. I often get great compliments from the people that come to my shows, that I ‘never disappoint’ them, and that’s very gratifying to me. That’s what I was trying to express with this title, that sense of character. To stand for something principled.” 

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