Capital Jazz Fest 2008

Special Report by Clifford Beck

Hot. Of all the music and sights I saw during the CJF weekend, what stuck in my mind was the heat. It was hotter than hell during that weekend. But the music made up for it. That, and a lot of water.

Read on for Clifford Beck’s recap of performances by Brian Culbertson and the Funk Experience, Spyro Gyra, Rick Braun and Richard Elliot, Alton Merrell, B.K. Jackson, Wayman Tisdale, Four80East, Down to the Bone, Joe Sample and Randy Crawford, and Ken Ford. Continue reading “Capital Jazz Fest 2008”

Review: Boney’s Funky Christmas from Boney James

[This is an archived review I wrote at some point between 1997 and 1999.]

Boney's Funky Christmas from Boney JamesThe ads for Boney’s first holiday release call this “the album to put on after you put the kids to bed.” Sure enough, Boney’s Funky Christmas features the seductive grooves you know the saxman for. This is the smoothest Christmas release I’ve heard in the last two years. Boney’s stamp on these songs (mostly traditional holiday tunes) is distinctive and the rhythms and production by his longtime producer, Paul Brown are top notch. Boney is especially tender on the Chris Eaton/Amy Grant composition “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song).” He has able assistance on the album from guest vocalists Dee Harvey (on “This Christmas”) and Bobby Caldwell (on “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”). Rick Braun guests on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Although the other eight tracks are in the silky r&b vein, Boney also tries his hand at a stripped down sound with just him and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa on “Jingle Bells.” Overall, this is one of the most solid contemporary jazz holiday releases and one that will be enjoyed for years to come.

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