What to Do Tonight: Boney James



Los Angeles-based saxophonist Boney James didn’t set out to help forge a new genre when he fused elements of R&B and hip-hop into jazz in the early ’90s. The urban jazz sound came naturally, he says: “I definitely feel that the style was there when I came along. People like Grover Washington, Jr. were doing something very similar — taking jazz music and fusing it with R&B instead of rock. I always felt like I was continuing into that tradition. I just wanted to do my own thing, but writers wanted to give it a name, so I just stopped fighting it.” It helps that James has become one of the most successful instrumental musicians of his generation over the past decade. “It’s good to sell records,” he laughs. “I like having people hear my music. When I make a record, I want to make sure I love it. So whenever I put a record out and it does well, I feel like I must be doing something right.” On his new tour, James is playing songs from his recent concept album, Send One Your Love, a collection of love songs inspired by the 1970s. “I thought it would be fun to start out with an idea of what I wanted the record to be, as opposed to just making it and deciding afterwards what it was,” he says. “So I just came up with this idea of doing a great make-out record like Barry White might have done.” Pucker up! James plays the Ohio Theatre (1511 Euclid Ave., 216.771.4444, playhousesquare.com) at 8 p.m. Tickets: $10-$42. — Ernest Barteldes

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