The jazz saxophonist plays Saturday at Heritage Landing for the festival, which also hosts sets by Alexander Zonjic, Peabo Bryson, Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber, Organissimo, John Gist and others.
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For saxophonist Boney James, troubled times present opportunities to be creative and “transform” the mood of his listeners.
It’s been 25 years since his debut album, and the platinum-selling, four-time Grammy nominee says he still finds retreating to music to be “rejuvenating.”
“I’ve found that if you just keep putting out new music, you can keep things fresh,” James said.
James is keeping things fresh all summer with a tour to theaters and jazz festivals across the country, including Shoreline Jazz Festival in Muskegon from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27. The festival, headlined and organized by jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic, will also feature performances by Peabo Bryson, Gerald Albright, Steve Cole and Keiko Matsui, among others. Local and regional artists performing include Organissimo, John Gist and Muskegon Jazz All-Stars.
On Sept. 1, James will release his 16th album, “Honestly,” which he describes as his most stand-out and eclectic work to date.
“The record was a great place to escape to and be renewed by,” said James. “‘Honestly’ is such an aspirational word and it’s how I’m trying to live my life and be creative.””
The concept for the album was solidified for James when he recorded the title track with acclaimed R&B singer Avery*Sunshine. (Listen to the song below.)
“I had been circling around that idea already,” he said. “She wrote that lyric and I thought, ‘There it is.’ She fortuitously supplied me with the answer.”
And in being honest with himself, James said he was able turn his feelings about the “troubled times” we live in and turn them into his most joyful sounding album yet.
A RECORDING WITH ‘A MORE POSITIVE AND UPBEAT QUALITY’
“Every record has its own character. This one has a more positive and upbeat quality,” James said.
The result of James’ process is an album of many “flavors.” In addition to James’ signature smooth jazz, the album touches on R&B, soul and funk. There are even moments in the music James describes as “sexy.”
“Honestly” also features a track with vocalist Eric Roberson, as well as James’ take on the Hoagy Carmichael classic, “Skylark.”
The album follows James’ 2015 release, “futuresoul,” a massive success which kept James at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart for 11 weeks.
James is set to perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Landing in Muskegon. James first performed at Shoreline Jazz Festival in 2014 and says he’s excited to return and perform in such a “beautiful setting.”
More information on Shoreline Jazz Festival and tickets can be found online here. Admission to Friday night’s “Jazz in the Park” show on the Hackley Park Stage is free. General admission to Saturday and Sunday’s performances is $35 per day, with preferred seats $60.
VIDEO: Boney James, “Honestly” (featuring Avery*Sunshine)
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