Boney James - Jazz Musician
Boney James, the jazz musician, took up the clarinet at the age of eight, switching to sax when he was ten. Boney spent his early teen years in New Rochelle, New York and became musically influenced by the R&B Motown genre and saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.
When James was fourteen his family moved to Los Angeles, where he joined a fusion band that opened for acts like Flora Purim and the Yellowjackets. Another member of this early band was John Shanks, now a successful pop producer. James eventually received a degree in history from UCLA, but began playing music full-time after graduation.
James learned to play keyboards and in 1985 he joined Morris Day's band. His R&B influence was further strengthened by seven years of touring and sessions as a sideman with Day, the Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Crawford, Teena Marie and others. It was on the road with Crawford in 1986 that he earned his now-famous moniker, when his physique led a band mate to joke "We'll have to start calling you Boney James!".
In the early 1990s while on tour with Bobby Caldwell's band James met engineer and producer Paul Brown, beginning a 10-year period of collaboration. In 1992 Boney released his debut album as a leader, Trust, on the independent record label Spindletop Records. Following the record's success, James was signed by the Warner Brothers label in 1994.
He released the RIAA Certified Gold Records, Seduction, Sweet Thing and Body Language on Warner Brothers. In 2000 he collaborated with trumpeter Rick Braun on an album called Shake it Up. Their duets include the now classic updated version of Hugh Masakela's "Grazin' in the Grass".
Boney James Music Collection
Other artists who have made guest appearances on Boney's records include Raheem DeVaughn, Faith Evans, George Benson, George Duke, Dwele, Al Jarreau, Philip Bailey, Anthony Hamilton, Jaheim, Eric Benét, Dave Hollister and Angie Stone.