James Morrison AM (born 11 November 1962 in Boorowa, New South Wales) is an Australian jazz musician who plays numerous instruments, but is best known for his trumpet playing. He is a multi-instrumentalist, having performed on the clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, flugelhorn, bass flugelhorn, trombone, euphonium, tuba and piano. He is also a composer, writing jazz charts for ensembles of various sizes and proficiency levels. He performed the opening fanfare at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In 2009, he joined Steve Pizzati and Warren Brown as a presenter on Top Gear Australia.
Association with other musicians
Morrison has performed with Dizzy Gillespie (the first Australian to do so), with Don Burrows, as a member of the Don Burrows Band, and with Ray Charles and B. B. King for a 1990 world tour. He has also worked with Ray Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway, Jon Faddis, Woody Shaw, Whitney Houston, Arturo Sandoval, Phil Stack, George Benson, Mark Nightingale, and Red Rodney.
In 2005, he was the guest soloist at the 150th anniversary concert of the Black Dyke Band and in 2007, he again appeared as guest soloist at concerts with the band in Manchester and London. In 2003 he founded the band On The Edge together with the German keyboarder and composer Simon Stockhausen (CD released on Morrison Records).
Morrison comes from a musical family; his brother John Morrison is a highly regarded jazz drummer. In 1983 they formed a 13-piece big band, the Morrison Brothers Big Bad Band. John and James have also worked together on many other projects and recordings. His father was a church minister.
The discovery and development of young talented musicians has always been important to Morrison. He found his regular vocalist, Emma Pask, at a school concert, aged 16, and she has since gone on to become an internationally renowned jazz singer. Morrison sponsors yearly scholarships for young musicians, and is actively involved with several youth bands. His Generations In Jazz is proof of his support in the young musicians of Australia.
Generations In Jazz
The Generations In Jazz (GIJ) is a jazz competition that is open for school big bands from all over Australia. It is a prestigious event for the younger jazz community which is adjudicated by Morrison, Ross Irwin and Graeme Lyall. It takes place at Mount Gambier during May annually. It features some of Australia's most exceptional young jazz musicians all competing for either the 'James Morrison Scholarship', the 'City of Mount Gambier National Stage Band Awards' or the 'Generations in Jazz Vocal Scholarship'.
There are four separate divisions. Each division is judged by a different musician and that musician also composes the set piece which every band in that division must perform.
- Division One prize - 1st $7000, 2nd $5000 and 3rd $4000 (James Morrison, "The Call")
- Division Two prize - 1st $3000, 2nd $2000 and 3rd $1000 (Graeme Lyall, "7-Up")
- Division Three prize - 1st $750, 2nd $500 and 3rd $250 (Ross Irwin, "Codename Istanbul Angel")
- Division Four prize - Adjudication only ("I Remember Cliff")
Each band must play the set piece, a ballad and then an own choice piece.
- 2007 - Christmas
- 2007 - The Other Woman
- 2006 - Gospel Collection Volume II
- 2006 - 2x2 - James Morrison and Joe Chindamo
- 2005 - Gospel Collection
- 2003 - On The Edge
- 2002 - So Far So Good
- 2001 - Scream Machine
- 1999 - European Sessions
- 1998 - Three Minds
- 1998 - Quartet
- 1996 - Live At The Sydney Opera House - James Morrison with his Big Band
- 1994 - Live In Paris - James Morrison and The Hot Horns Happening
- 1993 - This Is Christmas
- 1992 - Two The Max
- 1991 - Manner Dangerous
- 1990 - Snappy Doo
- 1989 - Swiss Encounter - James Morrison & Adam Makowicz
- 1988 - Postcards From Downunder
- 1984 - Live At The Winery - James Morrison & The Morrison Brothers Big Bad Band
- 1984 - A Night In Tunisia - James Morrison & The Morrison Brothers Big Bad Band
As well as playing instruments, James Morrison has also had input into the process of creating them. Yamaha has produced the YTR6335J Morrison Trumpet, the YTR6335JII Morrison Trumpet, and the TR14B4JM James Morrison Signature Mouthpiece. A similar trombone range exists: YSL456GMA and YSL456GJII James Morrison Trombones and the professional YSL456GJ James Morrison Trombone and the 48JM-GP mouthpiece.
His latest instrument creation project was to work with a designer called Steve Marshall to produce the Morrison Digital Trumpet, a MIDI wind controller that looks and acts like a futuristic version of a regular trumpet. This allows a trumpeter to play electronic sounds in much the same way as a pianist can play an electronic synthesizer.
However, Morrison has taken his love of musical technology to a brand new level. On his latest album The Other Woman, which features singer Deni Hines, he wrote a track called '(Tired Of Being) the other woman'. When Morrison performed this track at a performance in Sydney, he revealed his latest piece of music technology. It was a unique keyboard that had a microphone coming out of the back end. The keyboard would 'sing' whatever Morrison spoke into the microphone producing the sound of a choir.
Morrison famously played the wrong Spanish National Anthem at the Davis Cup Final in Australia in 2003. Instead of playing the modern version, he performed the Himno de Riego anthem not heard since the Second Republic era, causing the enraged Spanish Secretary of State for Sport to walk out in anger. Morrison later admitted he had learned the tune from a file called "Spanish National Anthem" which he downloaded from a peer to peer network without checking its veracity. He managed to salvage the situation by quickly finding the correct one, placating the Spanish and allowing the match to proceed.
James Morrison was a guest on Spicks and Specks, performed on his trumpet and was disappointed at the reaction. Fellow guest Colin Lane suggested he play the instrument with his backside for extra effect. This sequence was not broadcast.
Radio and TV presenter; Top Gear Australia
- For a number of years, Morrison has been the presenter of the in-flight jazz radio station for Qantas Airways.
- On 19 December 2008, presenter Charlie Cox announced his departure from Top Gear Australia due to lack of time. Morrison has replaced him in the second season, alongside Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati. He had appeared as the "Star in a Bog-Standard Car" in episode 6 of the first series.
Biography from Wikipedia