Saxophonist Boney James has recorded the ultimate musical love letter, a collection of love songs inspired by pop, soul and jazz music of the 1970s. Send One Your Love is the jazzman's first-ever concept album.
Boney James has always had a passion for great R&B love songs. Some of his most popular remakes include tunes by Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Chaka Khan. On Send One Your Love, Boney turns to another musical inspiration, saxophonist John Klemmer and "Touch."
The Motown sound of the 1960s also had an impact on Boney James while growing up in New Rochelle, New York. He says his elementary school music teacher was the first to suggest that he switch from clarinet to sax.
"He said, 'You should play saxophone.' And I said, 'I don't want to change.' But, finally I was convinced to change when the stage band came from the junior high school to visit the elementary school and they had drums, and an electric guitar, and snazzy outfits, snazzy jackets with ascots," Boney explains. "And I saw that and I said, 'If I play the saxophone I can be in the stage band.' So that's what induced me to switch."
Boney's saxophone skills were later put to the test with The Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford, Morris Day and Bobby Caldwell.
As a soloist, Boney often includes a remake or two in his repertoire, as well as his own compositions. He says he spent a lot of time on his new album deciding how many remakes to record.
"The new record 'Send One Your Love' is six cover songs, originally recorded by other people, and four songs that I wrote myself," Boney says. "So, I thought, since I actually consider myself a singer, although I'm singing with the horn, wouldn't it be great to take some great songs and just sing them in my voice and sort of see what comes out."
The one vocal track on the album is Boney's update of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," featuring rising R&B singer Quinn.
Boney says he enjoys sharing the spotlight and continues to scout the music world for singers and musicians to record with.
"I've had some great guests on my records; Faith Evans, Joe Sample, George Benson, all these people have collaborated with me on my music," he says. "Stevie Wonder is still someone I'd love to record with, although just this last Christmas, he had this benefit concert in Los Angeles that I appeared at and he actually stayed on stage and jammed with me on my songs. So, that was a real dream come true."
Boney James pays tribute to Stevie Wonder with his version of Wonder's 1979 hit single "Send One Your Love."