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J ames Spaulding, alto saxophonist/flutist was a favored sideman for Blue Note Records between 1962 and '68, and holds the unique distinction of performing on Blue Note LPs now considered classics. He can be heard as soloist on recordings with Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Duke Pearson, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Turrentine and Hank Mobley. James has seven recordings as leader on the Muse and HighNote Records. In 2000, he recorded and produced under his own label, Speetones Music, a 2-volume set: Vol. 1, Blues Up & Over and Vol. 11, Round To It, recorded live at the Brooklyn Jazz Club, Up Over Jazz Café, owned by Robert Myers. Recently, James recorded live in Paris with the Pierre Christophe Trio, a CD entitled: Down With It, on the Futura & Marge label. Approaching his 70th birthday, James is performing in peak form, with no signs of slowing down - he's still blowing stronger than ever.
Spaulding's 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). James began playing a bugle when he was in grade school. He later took up the trumpet and saxophone on his own, and while in high school studied clarinet. He made his professional debut playing around Indianapolis with a rhythm "n" blues group.
From 1954 to 1957, Spaulding was in the army playing in service bands. When he was discharged, 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 subsequently was associated with notables such as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Max Roach and the Ellington Orchestra. In 1975, he received a bachelor's degree in music from Livingston College in New Jersey where he taught flute as an adjunct professor. James' daughters, Gina and Yvonne Spaulding were on the cover of his very first recording: "The Legacy of Duke Ellington," recorded in 1975. Mr. Spaulding's range of performance experiences extends nationally and internationally, from the concert stage to jazz clubs to colleges and street fairs. 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. He holds a historically significant place in jazz reference books including, The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler; The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz by Brian Case and Stan Britt; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz edited by Barry Keinfeld, just to name a few. He has performed as a sideman and been recorded on over 100 recordings.
James and Freddie Hubbard