James received his training at The Hartford Conservatory of Music, The University of Southern California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and The Institute of Audio Research in New York.
His professional career began at age 14 and at age 16, he led a popular R & B/Blues band on the east coast, performing with many of the top recording artists of the period.
His first national tour began in 1967, as Assistant Conductor and Arranger with the Ice Capades. With vast experience in all phases and aspects of music creation, production, and the performing arts, he’s been affiliated with dozens of stars in all media.
As Music Director and arranger, he has been associated with many celebrities such as: Bernadette Peters, Leslie Uggams, Carole Channing, Mickey Rooney, Joan Rivers and Juliet Prowse. As a jazz pianist and arranger, he has performed with Karrin Allyson, Mel Torme, Marlena Shaw, Ernie Andrews, Lionel Hampton, "Cat" Anderson, Red Rodney, Ernie Watts, Jeff Hamilton, Shelly Manne and Louis Bellson, among many others. His big band credits include Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Bill Holman, Count Basie, Richard Maltby and Alvino Rey.
Many years were spent in television, contributing to numerous Hollywood shows and series including, The Tonight Show, Emmy Awards, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Sonny & Cher and more.
Musical Collaborations with Nelson Riddle, Neal Hefti, Henry Mancini, Fred Karlin, Anthony Newley, David Rose, Peter Matz; Former Chairman and host for Monday Night Jazz, the longest running continuous jazz series in the nation; nationally published arranger. Other former affiliations include: Arranger and Jazz/Pop pianist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; Arranger and pianist with The Hartford Symphony Classical Jazz Quartet; Board member of The American Society of Music Arrangers; Music Director/Arranger for Dave Brubeckʼs musical, The Real Ambassadors, featuring Jon Hendricks and Kurt Elling.
James is currently a faculty member at Westfield State University and the University of Massachusetts.