Shake It Up

Shake It Up

5.0 1
by Boney James
     
 

Saxophonist Boney James and trumpeter Rick Braun get a nice little party going on SHAKE IT UP. These two smooth jazz regulars are a perfect match -- both know the value of a well-turned funk phrase, and how to milk a deeply felt note for all its worth. They love old school soul jazz and contemprary R&B, albeit onthe lite side. And it's this balance that makes their… See more details below

Overview

Saxophonist Boney James and trumpeter Rick Braun get a nice little party going on SHAKE IT UP. These two smooth jazz regulars are a perfect match -- both know the value of a well-turned funk phrase, and how to milk a deeply felt note for all its worth. They love old school soul jazz and contemprary R&B, albeit onthe lite side. And it's this balance that makes their ego-free collaboration such a joy. Braun gets both a full-blooded tone and a moody Miles Davis-like sound that he exploits with panache throughout, while James gets a hefty, yet, when called for, lithe tone that also shows itself well. Together, they blend beautifull, particularly on the funky "R.S.V.P.," "Shake It Up," and "Chain Reaction," tracks that practically cry out, "Radio hit." Two versions of trumpeter Hugh Masekela's 1968 hit "Grazin' in the Grass" --one instrumental, one with guest singers -- get fun workouts here. (The instrumental tracks nods slyly at the Masekela side, the vocal track differs substantially from the hit late '60s vocal version by the Friends of Distinction.) Undoubtedly, many fans of James and Braun may not even remeber or be aware of either earlier version --may they groove on these updates with a smile on their face and a lilt in their dance steps.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
From Bob James & David Sanborn's Grammy-winning Double Vision to George Benson & Earl Klugh's Collaboration, Warner Brothers has released some of the greatest dual projects in smooth jazz. Rick Braun's signing to the label this year has paved the way for the label's best tandem project yet, pairing the trumpet star's jazzy sensibilities with the ultra-funk dynamics of R&B saxman Boney James. Rather than simply a clever name, the album title reflects the way the two bounce off of and drive each other to reach artistic heights beyond their typical solo endeavors. The two horns dance over a shuffle beat and simmering blues keyboard textures on the opening track "RSVP," first soaring in perfect unison then breaking for back-and-forth conversations between James' lower smoky tone and Braun's higher pitched crackling. Their musical chatter builds slowly, culminating in a powerful end chorus. Similarly celebratory are two versions (one vocal) of the jubilant '60s horn hit "Grazin' in the Grass," which features the two swaying as one over jumpy retro guitar and keyboard parts then blasting off into percussive improvisations. While it's easy to visualize the energy James and Braun might generate with those tunes live, the disc's gentler moments are equally remarkable, most notably the silky "More Than You Know" (where Braun introduces a tender thought and waits for James to complete it) and a smoky, gently grooving cover of Horace Silver's "Song for My Father." The latter features a subdued Braun's muted trumpet melody as James' breathy tenor rides underneath as a support system. The listeners have heard Braun do the intimate jazz improv before, but James' inventive reflections here are quite the revelation. "The Stars Above" allows for an even more intimate candlelight chat between two musicians who seem to read each other's thoughts instinctively. Other highlights are "Central Avenue" and the percussive title track, which is sheer live-in-the-studio festivity time. James and Braun both came of age in the '70s and the chunky wah-wah guitar elements dart throughout, most emphatically on "Chain Reaction," which chugs along at a feverish retro-soul pitch. Shake It Up is not only the smooth jazz event of the year, but so far the genre's greatest recording. Hopefully, it won't be just a one time side project for either.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/30/2000
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624755722
catalogNumber:
47557
Rank:
24968

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Boney James   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Tenor Saxophone
Larry Carlton   Guitar
David Torkanowsky   Piano,Keyboards
Sue Ann Carwell   Vocals
Phil Davis   Wurlitzer
Alex Al   Bass
Rick Braun   Trumpet
Alexandra Brown   Vocals
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion
Michael Egizi   Keyboards
Larry Kimpel   Bass
Tony Maiden   Guitar
Harvey Mason   Drums
Gary Novak   Drums
Yvonne Williams   Vocals
Rohn Lawrence   Guitar
Carl Burnett   Guitar,Keyboards,Key Bass
Bob DeMarco   Guitar

Technical Credits

Joe Sample   Composer
Sue Ann Carwell   Vocal Arrangements
Phil Davis   Arranger
Boney James   Arranger,Producer,Vocal Arrangements
Rick Braun   Arranger,Producer
Paul Brown   Producer
Michael Egizi   Arranger,Programming
Harry Elston   Composer
David Rideau   Engineer
Bill Schnee   Engineer
Carl Burnett   Programming
Philemon Hou   Composer

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