Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Weidman, James (James Edward Weidman Jr.)
Weidman, James [James Edward Weidman Jr.], piano; b. Youngstown, OH, 23 July 1953. He's studied with Tony Leonardi at Youngstown State University, 1975-77, Dave Baker, James Williams at Jamey Abersold Jazz Camp, 1976, and Marcellene Hawk (European Classical Music) at Youngstown State 1971-1977.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Weidman was born into a musical family and first learned to play jazz from his father (a saxophonist and bandleader) at the age of seven. "He taught me some of the songs he played in the band," says Weidman. By the time he was 13 he was playing organ in his father's jazz band. Throughout his years at Youngstown University (he graduated cum laude with a degree in classical and jazz piano), Weidman continued to divide his time between his studies and performing in local jazz bands. Moving to New York was inevitable. Almost immediately, he found himself playing with jazz greats Cecil Payne, Harold Ousley, Bobby Watson and Pepper Adams, before falling in with Steve Coleman. Weidman has perhaps learned the most with his long-term collaborator, highly acclaimed saxophonist TK Blue, who is also Randy Weston's musical director.
Over the years he has played and recorded with musicians as diverse as Max Roach, Woody Herman, Archie Shepp, James Moody, Greg Osby, Slide Hampton, Jay Hoggard, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Gloria Lynne and blues diva Dakota Staton. For five years he was the featured keyboardist (replacing Geri Allen) for avant-garde saxophonist Steve Coleman and the Five Elements and the M-Base Collective. And he was part of the Spirit of Life Ensemble that held the Monday night spot at Sweet Basil for five years, as well as co-leader (with saxophonist TK Blue) of the Afro-Caribbean-Jazz quartet, Taja.
He has also been the accompanist of choice for some of the world's most celebrated singers , including legendary jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln (for nine years), and Cassandra Wilson (for two years).
Weidman has performed at the world's major venues and festivals, including the Montreux, Monterey, Newport, North Sea and JVC Jazz Festivals, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Village Vanguard, Iridium and Jazz Standard.
People Music (1996); All About Time (1999)
Patrick Brennan: Soup (1981), Molton Opposites (1983); Abbey Lincoln: Talking To The Zsun (1983); Harold Ousley: That's When I Thought of Love (1986); Abbey Lincoln: Abbey Sings Billie, Vol. 1 (1987), Abbey Sings Billie, Vol. 2 (1987); Steve Coleman: Sine Die (1987), Rhythm People, Black Science, Drop Kick; Katchie Cartwright Quintet: Live! At the Deer Head Inn (1993); Taja: A Night at Birdland (1993); Spirit of Life Ensemble: Live! At the 5 Spot (1994); Jonathan Buck: The Catalyst (1995); Talib Kibwe (TK Blue): Introducing Talib Kibwe (1995); Jeffrey Smith: Down Here Below (1997); Talib Kibwe (TK Blue): Another Blue (1998), Eyes of the Elders; Ruth Naomi Floyd: Fan Into Flame, With New Eyes, Walk and Not Be Faint; Kevin Mahogany: Portrait of Kevin Mahogany (compilation), Pride and Joy, Kevin Mahogany; Cassandra Wilson: Cassandra Wilson Sings Standards (compilation), Live, Dance to the Drums Again, After the Beginning Again; M-Base Collective: Anatomy of a Groove; Robin Eubanks: Different Perspectives; Lonnie Plaxico: Plaxico; Jay Hoggard: Love is the Answer, The Fountain, Something 'Bout Believing; Alvin Queen: I'm Back; Cartwright/Oppenheim Quintet: Soulmates
Kevin Mahogany: BET on Jazz; TK Blue: BET on Jazz; Mary Pearson:
BET on Jazz; Kevin Mahogany Quintet: Newport Jazz Festival; Steve Coleman and Five Elements: BBC
Cassandra Wilson "Live"; Abbey Lincoln "You Gotta Pay The Band
A Question of Color (documentary) 1993, Kathe Sandler
Jazz Hot, May 1998; Hot House, September 1997