James Morrison is, by anybody’s standard, a virtuoso in the true sense of the word.
Besides the trumpet, this multi-instrumentalist also plays trombone, euphonium, flugel horn, tuba, saxophones, and piano.
At the age of seven, he was given his first instrument, at nine he formed his first band and at thirteen he was playing professionally in nightclubs. His international career developed equally as fast. Just turned 16 James Morrison debuted in the USA with a breathtaking concert at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Following this were performances at the big festivals in Europe – including Montreaux, Pori, North Sea, Nice and Bern – playing with many of the legends of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Woody Shaw, Red Rodney, George Benson, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ray Brown and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. There were also gigs in the world’s most famous jazz clubs – the Blue Note and Village Vanguard in New York, the New Morning in Paris and Ronnie Scott’s in London.
Now 37, James Morrison’s career thus far has been diverse and perhaps not typical of most jazz musicians. He recorded “Jazz Meets the Symphony” with The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lalo Schifrin, performed concerts at the Royal Albert hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for Princess Anne. Royal command performances on two occasions for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and for US Presidents Bush & Clinton at Parliament House in Australia. In 1997, James was recognised for his service to the arts in Australia and awarded a medal of The Order of Australia.
Apart from touring the world for most of the year James is also head of Morrison Records, an independent label dedicated to the best of jazz. He also spends much time in education, doing master classes and workshops in many countries and running a jazz scholarship.
An avid user of the latest technologies James is very involved in furthering the presence of jazz and music education on the Internet and also uses computers extensively in his writing, recording and performances.
When not writing film scores, composing or being patron of several youth orchestras, James relaxes in some fairly unconventional ways for a musician – competing in triathlons, abseiling, flying his private plane or driving in a rally championship. His love of cars is well known, as he was host of the national TV program “Behind the Wheel”.
With interests so broad and a career so filled with highlights it seems that he has done just about everything anyone could want – not so. When asked, “What is there left to do?” His reply is typically exciting “This is just the warm up!”