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James Morton by Peter McGrath


James Morton is one of the most promising saxophonists on the scene today. Born in 1982, from English, Russian and Polish descent, James began to play aged 9.

Performing his first gig aged 12 it wasn't long before James graced the Jazz/World Music stage at Glastonbury  aged just 16. Soon after James went global performing at festivals across Europe and America.

Aged 22 Morton completed his Masters Degree in Jazz at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music.

A major influence and mentor to James throughout his career has been the enigmatic Pee Wee Ellis and James remains a core member of Pee Wee Ellis' - Still Black Still Proud, a tribute to James Brown which has headlined main stages at festivals across Europe.

Another mentor and undoubtable influence has been the inspirational Andy Sheppard. Since playing at numerous gigs with the quartet in Morton's hometown of Bristol, he is now integral soloist in Sheppard's Sax Massive.

In August 2010 James was recruited by The Herbaliser as a full member and continues to tour and record with the outfit extensively.

In 2010 James was also commissioned by Canary Wharf to collaborate with three other musicians in the form of Alex Wilson, Kathryn Tickell and Kishon Kahn to write a suite of music referencing a musical journey between the four compass points, a point for each artist. James' compass point was west - "I wanted to write something big, fat and funky with a New Orleans street party feel". The suite was performed on an orbital stage in Canada Square in Canary Wharf involving an 8 piece core band and youth project Kinetica Blocko. James worked closely with the South London based group in a workshop style environment and developed the song which was performed in its entirity by 26 musicians in a stunning display.

To date his talents appear on Pendulum's platinum selling Drum'n'Bass album Hold Your Colour and he has performed with some of the foremost artists in the world including Raphael Saadiq, Kasabian, Fred Wesley, Tony Allen, Angelique Kidjo, The Mahotella Queens, Lillian Boutté, Beth Rowley, Clare Teal, Keith Tippett, Jason Rubello, Orphy Robinson, Jazz Jamaica, Snowboy and Tomorrow's Warriors to name a few. 

The debut album from James and his down home project James Morton's Porkchop is an old skool funky jazzy affair, released on Fresh Ground Records in May 2010 to critical acclaim and signed by Munich based record label C.A.R.E Music Group in autumn 2010. 

The band toured across the UK and Europe throughout the summer 2010 including launch shows in his home town at The Croft, BristolPizza Express Jazz Club, London and the Coutance Jazz Festival and continued in to autumn including a show at The Barbican Centre at The London Jazz festival. During the summer the band also recorded a live session on Jazz F.M on the David Freeman show which was aired again on New years day as part of a best of 2010 show.

Leading from the front on alto sax James Morton's Porkchop is a collection of the impressive Dan 'Pinstripe' Moore (Hammond organ), Ian Matthews of Kasabian (drums) and Denny Ilett (guitar). Funk, soul-jazz, and gospel are all influences that inform the concept.

The intention on this album James says "is to eliminate the introspective and self-indulgent elements that some 'jazz' music can often adhere to, and bring the music back to the people......and jazz back to the dance floor".

James' forthcoming album builds on the concept of the first album and and features The Easy Access Horns (The Herbaliser), Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard and Alex Johanson (vocals).

James’ first solo album 'The Kid' features Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard, members from the Herbaliser, The Soul Collective Gospel Choir and more 'The Kid' is due to be released in 2014.

To date his talents appear on Pendulum’s platinum selling Drum’n’Bass album Hold Your Colour and he has performed with some of the foremost artists in the world including Raphael Saadiq, Kasabian, Fred Wesley and The New JB's, Roni Size, Tony Allen, Angelique Kidjo,Carleen Anderson, Marcella Detroit,The Mahotella Queens, Lillian Boutt, Beth Rowley, Clare Teal, Keith Tippett, Jason Rebello, Orphy Robinson, Jazz Jamaica, Snowboy and Tomorrow’s Warriors to name a few. 


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