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Customer Review

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ammunition for both sides, August 27, 2004
This review is from: Trust (Audio CD)
Popular music can be a fickle thing. Take for example, the genre known as "Smooth Jazz." Some supposed jazz "purists" insist that it's a stagnant genre, filled with clichés and rudimentary musicianship and absent of innovation. Others champion the style, saying that the opposite is true. Smooth jazz fosters creativity and brings the music to a whole new audience.

Both sides would find plenty of things to justify their position listening to "Trust" by Boney James. This album was released in 1992, and Boney James was on the forefront of the R&B-laced saxophone jazz that would typify the decade. Assisted by the relatively unknown (at the time) producer Paul Brown and studio legends Paul Jackson, Jr, and Lenny Castro, among others, James crafted a fine album of crossover jazz, replete with high-tech synthesizers, soft percussion, R&B backbeats and enough jazzy chord changes to fill two albums. It stuck quite a pose at the time with most of its contemporaries falling into the "elevator music' category.

Some highlights of "Trust" include the prototype Boney James song "Metropolis," vaguely Asian-feeling "Kyoto," and fine smooth jams "Lilly" and "Roadrunner." Each provides a beautiful stage for James' alto, tenor and soprano saxophone stylings and paints lush, memorable pictures in the minds of listeners.

Naysayers will be glad to know that the other half of "Trust" is filled with an undefined blandness; even at album release (at the start of James' search for a signature sound) it was "could be anybody" music. Even the cover of Stevie Wonder's classic "Creepin'" is boring. These dull tracks sound even more anonymous now, after a decade or so, when nearly every saxophonist with a backbeat and a recording contract copped the style laid out by first-wave artists like James and Art Porter.

If you're a naysayer like I've described, you'll have ammunition with "Trust." If you're a Boney James fan, add to your collection with this release. If you're on the fence, start with James' "Sweet Thing" or more contemporary releases. They more accurately show what Boney James is capable of creating.
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Location: Rocky Mount, VA USA

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