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Release Date:
April 9, 2013

Reviewed by:
Bonnie Schendell

Releasing his first album on April 9th after resigning with Concord, Boney James gives us The Beat, which is a Latin and R&B hybrid that brings us back to the Boney sound. From the vibrant colors on the CD cover to the vibrant rhythms of the music inside, Boney once again shows his audience what makes him different from the rest of the “smooth jazz” pack.  He is one of the few artists that easily makes the transition from jazz to R&B and back again with grooves and beats to keep you interested for the entire album, not just a few cuts.  Guest artists include Raheem De Vaughn, The Floacist, and Rick Braun, who complements the sax sound so well.

The CD opens with the Stevie Wonder cover, "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing."  While I personally feel that no one can do a cover like Boney can, I often wonder why artists feel the need to open with one.  My personal favorite track is "Sunset Boulevard," which is an infectious tune that may have you hitting the repeat button on more than one occasion.  “Missing You” is true to the Boney sound of a romantic ballad.  It’s a great gentle track with vocals by Abi Mancha that completely contrasts to "Batucada" (The Beat), which reunites James and longtime musical collaborator, Rick Braun.  The resulting sound is a beat you hear with your feet. "Maker of Love" pairs Boney with soulful, R&B vocalist, Raheem De Vaughn and shows Boney at his best. 

“Mari’s Song” is another traditional Boney ballad that makes the listener truly feel the emotion in the song.  With a perfect title, “Powerhouse” brings a beat that has you moving and grooving.  A Euro vibe added by The Floacist on “The Midas (This Is Why), combined with an R&B groove and percussion, gives a new depth to the usual James sound.  “Acalento” and “You Can Count On Me” round out the ten track album with tender tunes.

This CD has something for everyone from variety, diversity of R&B, Latin and that Euro vibe, and a beat that simply will not stop.  This collection is just another reason why Boney James has never wavered from the top of the charts and why he continues to play to sold out shows.  Definitely pick up The Beat.   You will not be disappointed.