The long-awaited release from this ever-popular sax artist features twelve new releases that Shine like a freshly tuned tenor on a summer afternoon. Fans won’t be disappointed here. There are some great new hits along with some of today’s hottest stars that make this one stand on its own.
The title track starts this one off (“Shine baby shine”) with the vocals of Esthero. Her vocals mix well with James tenor, and the words play-up the title of the disc through out. It’s a funky little number that you’ll be humming to over the airwaves without reservation. “The Total Experience” features George Duke as this one jumps off as the first single. There’s great set-up from James on the melodies here with nice work from Duke on the Rhodes before heading into the infectious melody. An all-star cast features Tony Maiden, Paul Jackson Jr., Lenny Castro and Jerry Hey. Yea, this is the total experience. “Aquas De Marco (Waters of March)” is a familiar Jobim tune that is more of a duet of soprano and tenor between James and himself. Nice production work pulls this one off as you wonder to yourself where you last heard this song. “Let It Go” is initially dark before launching into some great sax. The things that make this artist so popular such as a great hook and powerful presence are very evident. This cut is co-written by Rex Rideout who also helped with Everette Harp’s disc earlier in the year.
The thunderstorm begins as “In The Rain” patters along. This one is a little more laid back than the previous cuts. Faith Evans adds the addictive vocals on “Gonna Get It”. She and Boney play off each other well as this one seems destined for a great live song. “Breathe” features Boney on flute and sax. It’s a thick multi-layered composition that’s accented throughout with the piano of Tim Carmon. Earth Wind and Fire front man Phillip Bailey is on hand for “Love Song.” This one is driven by a strong back beat and layered keyboards. James sax is more evident on the chorus before giving way to two of his better solos. You’ll be hearing this one on the radio for sure. “Hypnotic” features George Benson on this self penned track for James. Full strings are on hand and add a nice background as these two stars play off each other. You’ll know this is Benson right away.
“The Way She Walks” picks up the pace again and is lead by Lil’ John Roberts driving beat on drums and Lenny Castro’s percussion. This one features some great trumpet from Christian Scott. The trumpet/sax combo has worked well for James in the past (with Rick Braun) and does so again. “Dedication” is strictly soprano that rides a crest of full instrumentation including strings, Moog and Rhodes. The harmonica of Tollak Ollestad is nice haunting touch. The disc closes with a Chuck Mangione tune entitled “Soft” that features the vocals of Ann Nesby. Put your headphones for this one. The Rhodes passes between channels with a great echo effect only to be united by James soprano.
There’s a great mix of artists and styles on Shine to please most. Some seem to flavor radio mixes that will play well in a lot of places. Others are pure Boney with the great sound and infectious melodies that have made him a fan favorite for so long. You’ll hear a lot from this disc over the next few months.
- Harvey Cline