425 N Bumby Avenue
Events at this location
“A solid relationship is when someone has your back and will stand by your side no matter what,” explains Boney James about the title of his new CD. “Solid
“A solid relationship is when someone has your back and will stand by your side no matter what,” explains Boney James about the title of his new CD. “Solid is a word that has a few meanings, but this one really resonated with me and became the theme of the record.”
Solid is the four-time GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist’s seventeenth album as a leader and will be released by Concord Records, April 17, 2020. Solid follows up his smash 2017 release Honestly which became his eleventh #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album.
Sometimes, inspiration is slow in coming, evasive, and stubborn. Other times, if an artist is very fortunate, it simply flows, the music practically writing itself. That’s how Solid, the latest release from Boney James came to be. “This record really flowed at an unusually quick pace,” Boney says. “There was a lot of positive energy in making this music. Solid is a very upbeat record. As I was writing them, these songs put a smile on my face.”
All of Solid’s eleven tracks were produced and written or co-written by James. Three songs—“Full Effect,” “Tonic” and the title track—were built from licks played at sound-check by touring guitarist Kendall Gilder on the road in support of Honestly. “I said, hey, what’s that riff you’re playing?” James recalls, “And Kendall said, ‘that’s just something I’m messing around with.’ I got my iPhone and recorded them, then took it home and wrote the songs!”
Four other songs were initiated by longtime James collaborator, acclaimed writer/producer Jairus ‘J-Mo’ Mozee (Anderson Paak, Nicki Minaj, Anthony Hamilton). One of those, “Be Here,” was ultimately transformed into Solid’s Adult Urban single featuring special guest Kenny Lattimore, best known for his Top 10 R&B hit “For You.”
Says James, “We met at the Soul Train Awards twenty years ago and he said, ‘Someday we need to work together!’ As I was working on ‘Be Here, I started to hear his voice in my head. I reached out to him and he wrote and recorded the lyrics. It’s such a romantic song and it really reinforced the theme of the record, strong and positive relationships.”
James crafted many of the song titles (“Fresh Air”, “On The Path”, “Tonic)” to play off this theme, “Similar to my last CD Honestly, this new music is a reaction to how stressful the world feels these days. Music is a respite, it’s always ‘solid’ and it never lets me down.”
Boney James’ personal relationship with music has never been anything but solid. Picking up the sax at age 10 in his native New Rochelle, New York, “I immediately loved it, and it pretty quickly became my favorite thing to do.” By the time he entered his teens, James was gigging with bands, and he turned pro at 19. He apprenticed as a sideman for artists like Morris Day, The Isley Brothers, Teena Marie, and many others, touring and doing sessions for seven years before cutting his first solo album in 1992. The independently released Trust led immediately to a major label deal and a string of increasingly successful recordings and nonstop touring.
Now a four-time GRAMMY nominee with four RIAA Gold records and career sales topping three million units, James continues to defy musical genres; A two-time NAACP Award nominee, a Soul Train Award winner, and named one of the Top 3 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Decade.
James, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 34 years Director/Actress Lily Mariye, says he’s looking forward to heading out on the road and seeing how the Solid material evolves from night tonight. “I love playing live, maybe more than I ever did. A lot of guys get tired of the traveling but it’s still a joy for me every time I go out there and play.”
It’s still a joy to his multitude of fans too. “I try to ‘be there for the people who are interested in my music,” says James, “to be Solid in that relationship and to not let anybody down. I often get great compliments from the people that come to my shows, that I ‘never disappoint’ them, and that’s very gratifying to me. That’s what I was trying to express with this title, that sense of character… to stand for something principled.”
(Wednesday) 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST
425 N Bumby Avenue
Damien Escobar is a world renowned violinist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, hailing from Jamaica, Queens, New York. His musical career spans over a decade, and his inspiring journey of making
Damien Escobar is a world renowned violinist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, hailing from Jamaica, Queens, New York. His musical career spans over a decade, and his inspiring journey of making it big, losing it all, fighting to rebuild, and getting a second chance at success is as much apart of his brand identity than being among the top violinist in the world.
The now NAACP Image Award nominee and Billboards chart topping artist, was once humbled by homelessness after calling it quits from his famed group, “Nuttin but Stringz.” The group, comprised of Damien and his brother, Tourie– known in NYC for playing their violins on the subway; gained global recognition when they appeared as contestants on “America’s Got Talent.” The competition helped to catapult the duo into stardom and they quickly experienced all the highs of being the most sought-after musicians of their time. However, that glory was short-lived and the fall from grace was a hard hit, to say the very least; as the group disbanded and a bruised Damien made the decision to retire his violin. What came next was a struggle– not only with his identity, and depression but with finding success in other non-creative endeavors.
Looking back at his journey, Damien realizes it all needed to fall apart so he could be forced to grow while putting it back together with the right way. Prevailing was a process and it started with unburying his talent– his love of playing the violin. And in 2013 Damien released his first album as a solo artist, “Sensual Melodies.” Once thought of as a passion project, the album garnished over 200K downloads; landed on the iTunes Top 100 chart; and served as a springboard for a successful national tour where he headlined, for the first time, as the one and only, Damien Escobar.
From there, doors that were once closed, became a little easier to push open; affording Damien opportunities to tell his inspiring story to publications like People Magazine and Huffington Post; make appearances on local and national news including “The Today Show”; serve as a guest on radio broadcasts, and even accept invitations to perform at notable events such as Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want” tour. Back in the spotlight, Damien decided this time around he would do more with his visibility and began his entrepreneurial walk by penning and self-publishing his very first children’s book, “The Sound of Strings”; building his very own line of custom-designed violins; and establishing partnerships to develop a wine line, perfume and fragrances, and a non-profit organization that would include a music program for children.
Motivated by his past and grateful for his fans and future, Damien went on to release his second album, “Boundless.” Growing into a self-conscious artist with more than a mission to make good music, Damien sought to inspire change and spread positivity by sharing uplifting messages and telling unfiltered personal stories to sold-out arenas across the world during his second tour. Though he’s achieved more than he could have imagined after pulling himself up by his bootstraps and kick-starting his solo career– Damien Escobar’s story isn’t over yet. The breakout artist has partnered with Mitsubishi and is now the face and sound of their latest campaign; he’s releasing new music and videos set to air on major broadcast channels; and, the world-famous violinist continues to build his brand centered around making an impact and inspiring social change. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.
(Monday) 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST
425 N Bumby Avenue