By Britt Bickel

Saxophonist Boney James is no stranger to blending rhythm and groove with his soulful melodies, and the headliner for The WAVE’s Smooth Night Out is gearing up for a new release that’s all about driving rhythm.

Boney’s new album suitably titled The Beat fuses his R&B soul with the energy and fervor of Latin rhythms for a new spin on some old favorites.

“Rhythm is always at the root of everything I do, and I love percussion, that’s just the pulse,” said Boney. “This record particularly has a new and fresh energy to it.”

His first single from the record, “Batucada (The Beat)” featuring Rick Braun, is a remake of Sergio Mendes’ Latin jazz hit in the mid-60s, but Boney wanted bring a fresh take to the song.

“I kind of re-imagined it in a sort of R&B way, his is totally Brazilian. I gave it a backbeat and a hump, and got my friend Rick Braun to come and play on it with me,” said Boney. “It jumps out at you, I’m just so proud of it.”

And it was this first single that set the tone for the direction the rest of the album took.

“This whole record actually was inspired by this first track,” said Boney. “There’s a bit of a Latin/R&B mashup – those are two distinct kinds of grooves, but I tried to mix them together in a way to make something new and fresh.”

Boney’s 14th studio album is scheduled for release on April 9th, but you can catch him playing some of his classics on stage at The WAVE’s Smooth Night Out at Nokia Theater on Saturday, Feb. 23rd. For tickets and more information, click here.

Pat Prescott covers much more with Boney James in our complete interview below. Listen to the following segments to hear more on upcoming performances, collaborations and details on his new album.

Part one: Boney talks about his new album, The Beat, and the guest artists featured on tracks.

Part two: Boney talks about his past collaborations and finding new vocalists to feature in songs.

Part three: Boney talks about what to expect during his set at The WAVE’s Smooth Night Out and upcoming performances.

Part four: Boney talks about performing on Smooth Jazz Cruises.


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