25 December 1939, Marshall, Missouri, USA. James played the piano from the age of four and eventually gained an MA in Composition from the University of Michigan in 1962. He worked as musical director and accompanist with vocalist Sarah Vaughan until 1968. In 1973 Quincy Jones introduced him to Creed Taylor who was forming his CTI Records label. James became his arranger and producer working on albums with Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, Eric Gale, Grover Washington Jnr. and Quincy Jones, as well as producing four solo works. In 1976 he moved to CBS Records as Director of Progressive A&R and worked with musicians as diverse as JoAnne Brackeen and Mongo Santamaría. In 1986 James worked with saxophonist David Sanborn on Double Vision. James has also written musical scores for Broadway and for movies including The Selling Of The President and Serpico. The television series Taxi used Angela from 1978s Touchdown as its theme. James major success in the 90s was as a member of the fusion group Fourplay although he continued to record solo albums regularly. The traditional jazz of 2001s Dancing On The Water showcased his improvisational skills. His 70s work has been sampled and plagiarised on countless occasions.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.