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Boney James

Saxophonist Boney James honed his craft playing for the Morris Day, Sheena Easton and the Isley Brothers. On his own since 1992, he has just released a new record "Ride," which is among the top five on the contemporary jazz charts. He appears in the Early Show’s Second Cup Café.

"I didn't try to make this record different, but it's true that it has a more intense, funkier feel to it than my previous albums," he says. "It has more of an edge, which is interesting, because I didn't plan it that way - I think that's just the way my music's evolving."

James wrote or co-wrote eight tunes on the album, his eighth for Warner Brothers. "Shake It Up," his 2000 collaboration with trumpeter Rick Braun, was his third consecutive Gold album.

Boney started his music career playing clarinet in elementary school, before moving on to the saxophone, which quickly became his primary instrument. After his family moved to Los Angeles, Boney began pursuing his musical ambitions in earnest, quickly discovering that he would have to pay some dues in the process.

"I wasn't sure I'd be able to make a living playing music full time," he says. "I went to UC Berkeley for a year, then transferred to UCLA."

Four years later, he was out of college, out of work, and newly married. His wife, Lily Mariye, is a regular on "ER" and an award-winning independent filmmaker.

"For a couple of years, I delivered pizzas by day and played with five or six bands at night, and I was really struggling," James says. "I just knew I had to get out of that pizza place."

Through the network of musicians he encountered playing with different bands, Boney heard about a cattle call for the Morris Day tour as a keyboard player. That was his first professional gig and it lasted, on and off, for several years, leading to more work with other artists.

Excited about the prospects for "Ride," Boney says, "All I've ever tried to do was make records that I loved personally and hope that my audiences will love them, too."

For more details, visit Boney James’ official Web site.

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