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!”
11 November 1962 Born Boorowa, Australia
Joined Don Burrows Band and toured Australia and South East Asia for the next 6 years.
Graduated from NSW Conservatorium of Music - Associate Diploma in Jazz.
Appointed lecturer at the NSW Conservatorium of Music
Formed Big Band with my brother John, filmed TV special for ABC.
First Australian to perform with Dizzy Gillespie - at Montreaux Jazz Festival.
Only Australian in all star Phillip Morris Big Band - World Tour.
World tour with Ray Charles & B.B. King.
Awarded "Australian Performer of the Year" Mo award.
Performed for President Bush at Parliament House Canberra.
Recorded "Jazz Meets the Symphony' with London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Concert at Royal Albert hall, London with London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Concert at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for Princess Anne.
Performed for President Clinton at Parliament House Canberra.
Other highlights: --
Royal Command performance for HRH Queen Elizabeth II on four occasions in Australia and on two occasions for the Prince and Princess of Wales.
I am also the Patron of six youth Bands throughout Australia and have a yearly scholarship to further the music education of young Australians.
"... James Morrison is as sure a bet for jazz superstardom as Wynton Marsalis was in 1981"
Leonard Feather in "Down Beat"
"It is this contrast that makes James Morrison one of the most sensational new players to arrive in many moons. A Grammy might very well be set aside for this one."
Hugh Wyatt in "The New York Daily News"
"Known as 'Mister Multi' he gives new dimension to the term multi- instrumentalist."
"Musically, he can do absolutely everything - high, low, fast, slow. It's all in tune, in time and respectful of dynamics. You might think maybe it comes too easy, it's too perfect."
Mike Zwerin in "The International Herald Tribune"
"Even more impressive than Morrison's massive technique is the way he builds wonderfully melodic solo masterpieces: It's like Stan Getz on the trumpet."
Jose Brown in "The Times Tribune California"
"Man, James Morrison can play - he's a great musician!"
Wynton Marsalis in "The Sydney Daily Telegraph"
"... a standing ovation, after Morrison and his musicians had delivered the most vivacious concert of the entire [Brecon] festival."
Clive Davis in "The Times" - London
"Wynton Marsalis will have to think about practicing again, for to judge by the reactions of the public, a superstar of the traditional is being heralded here."
Ljubisa Tosic in "Der Standard" Wien
"It's not surprising to me for James playing all styles of music and be very good at it. That happens in many places in the world, but he is one of the best!"
Dizzy Gillespie in "The Wizard Of Oz"
"The movies have 'Crocodile Dundee', jazz has James Morrison. [...] audiences at clubs in major cities have marvelled at his mastery of the trombone, trumpet, euphonium, flugelhorn, alto saxophone and piano. [...] little doubt that he could be the next jazz superstar."
Leonard Feather in "The Los AngelesTimes"
"Indeed Morrison's virtuosity is so towering that he's not only competing with Wynton Marsalis for the No. 1 trumpet spot among today's young players, but is the first white trumpeter since Red Rodney surfaced in the '40s to be recognized by the jazz cognoscenti...."
"Morrison has a greater awareness of the blues and the art of improvisation - the essential ingredients in jazz - than many American players."
Ray Brown's name for James Morrison
"Unlike Marsalis, however, Morrison is rapidly developing his own original style on his various instruments" "Morrison has made all the proper moves and should be applauded as one of a handful of the most vital new jazzmen to surface in two decades."
Hugh Wyatt in "The New York Daily News"