By Jonathan Widran
True to the title of his 17th album Solid, Boney James and his soulful urban-driven silk and funk adventures have been among smooth jazz’s surest bets for nearly 30 years. From the slinky groove, atmospheric old school textures and sultry lead sax of “Full Effect” through the hypnotic, chill poignancy of “Last Train Home,” the collection breezes along with the positive energy of songs that collectively feel like a respite from the stresses of the world. Incredibly, three tracks – “Full Effect,” the spirited, horn drenched “Tonic” and the strutting, whimsical title track – were built from licks played at sound check by touring guitarist Kendall Gilder on the road in support of Boney’s 2017 album Honestly. Four others originated with the saxophonist’s longtime collaborator, writer producer Jairus ‘J-Mo’ Mozee, who has worked his soul-fired magic with Anderson Paak, Nicki Minaj and Anthony Hamilton. One of these was ultimately transformed into “Be Here,” the sensual and romantic Adult Urban single featuring special guest vocalist Kenny Lattimore. The warm, soulful and uplifting sparkle of Solid pairs well with the thick, rich subtle elegance of Copia 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Barbara County. The emotionally subtle yet often dazzling energy of the music finds an inviting parallel with the many dark roasted, fruity elements of the wine – lush layers of baked cherry, blackberry and black currant with accents of licorice, star anise and cardamom on the nose. Just as Solid is the ultimate in comfort music for this anxious time, this Cab features a comforting finish of vanilla and caramel.