Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

Spaulding, James Ralph

Spaulding, James Ralph, alto saxophonist/flutist, composer; b. Indianapolis, Indiana, 30 July 1937.

His musical training started early, as he came from a musical  family in his place of birth Indiana (his father was a  professional musician who played the guitar and led his own big  band, traveling throughout the country). While attending grade  school, he began playing a bugle, taught himself to play trumpet,  and (with the help of a friend who taught him the fingering), the  saxophone. At the age of 10, James made his professional debut  playing saxophone in and around Indianapolis with a group of his  peers, in a rhythm & blues band which they organized. After  entering high school, he studied clarinet and flute, and was the  drum major of the high school band. He left high school at the  end of one year and joined the army. From 1954 to 1957, he played  in service bands. After his discharge, he settled in Chicago  where he performed in clubs leading his own group, and had a stay  with the Sun Ra Orchestra. He also furthered his flute studies  there at the Chicago Cosmopolitan School of Music.

In 1962, he arrived in New York City and made his first recording  as sideman on a Freddie Hubbard album entitled Hub Tones on the  Blue Note label. He also played with Randy Weston and Max Roach.  In 1963, he met and married his wife, Jean Wheeler. They have  three daughters, Gemma, his step daughter and their two  daughters, Gina and Yvonne. In the late 60s, the family moved to  New Jersey where James attended school under the GI Bill at  Livingston College, Rutgers University; where he taught flute as  an adjunct professor. While attending Livingston, he became a  member of the Ellington Orchestra, but subsequently left the band  and returned to complete his studies. His original music, a suite  entitled "A Song of Courage" was performed by him with full  orchestra and choir at the Voorhees Chapel at the Rutgers  University campus, from funds awarded him by the National  Endowment for the Arts. In 1975, he received a Bachelor's Degree  in Music.

Spaulding has been a member of the Freddie Hubbard Quintet, The 
Sun Ra Arkestra, The Duke Ellington Big Band under the leadership of Mercer Ellington, The David Murray Octet & Big Band, and had a short stay with the World Saxophone Quartet, to name a few. On July 30,2001, he performed at the Saxophone Summit Harlem Celebration, marking the opening of Former President      Bill Clinton's new office on 125th Street. In 2002, February, 22, he was one of the Judges at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. During his forty-five year plus career span, the range of his performance experiences extends nationally and internationally, from the concert stage, to jazz clubs, colleges, street fairs and at such influential venues as the Montpellier and Saalfelden, Austria Jazz Festivals.

James Spaulding plays the Legacy of Duke Ellington (1976)  Storyville label; Gotstabe' A Better Way (1990) Muse; Brilliant Comers (1988) Muse; Songs of Courage (1992) Muse; Blues Nexus (1994) Muse; The Smile of the Snake (1997) High Note; Blues Up & Over (2001) Speetones Music; Round To It (2002) Speetones Music; Down With It (2006) Future & Marge

As sideman
Freddie Hubbard: Hub Tones (1962) Blue Note Records

He has been recorded on over 100 albums, with legendary musicians ranging rrom Louis Armstrong to Sun Ra

For many years he was among the busier sideman and his unique alto saxophone style can be heard on recordings now considered classics. He appeared on the Blue Note label with artists such as Wayne Shorter, Duke Pearson, Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Stanley Turrentine, Horace Silver, Sam Rivers and McCoy Tyner. He can also be heard on Atlantic records with Max Roach and Richard Davis. (see discography on website)

Jazz Reference Books: The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies 
by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler; The New Grove Dictionary of 
Jazz edited by Barry Keinfeld; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 
Jazz by Brian Case and Stan Britt; A Blue Note Label A 
Discography by Cuscuna and Michel Ruppli; and others, to name a few.

Feature articles/interviews:
Cadence Magazine, Vol. 14, cadence@cadencebuilding.com ; HotHouse Magazine, May 2007, p32; allaboutjazz.com (Clifford Allen,  February 11,2004) Radio Interviews: WBAI (Louis Reyes Rivera, 99.5 FM) WKCR (89.9 FM - 2 interviews);  WLIB (M. Hotep Gary Bird, 11.90 FM)

Contact information:
Website: http://www.speetones.com  www.myspace.com/Jamesspauldingexpressions
Representation: (718) 523-6267

Back to Top