James Morrison (musician)
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 Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Double Bass and Piano. He is also a composer, writing jazz charts for ensembles of various sizes and proficiency levels. He composed and 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.
In 2012 James was appointed as Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival for the 2013 and 2015 festivals. In 2013, James was inducted into the Allans Billy Hyde Graeme Bell Hall of Fame 2013 at the Australian Jazz Bell Awards
Morrison comes from a musical family; his older 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. His sister is a trumpeter and his mother plays alto sax and piano.
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 association with Generations In Jazz is his main avenue of support for young musicians in 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, Graeme Lyall, 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 has also had a long association with Composer and pianist Lalo Schifrin (of Mission Impossible fame) and has recorded a number of CDs on Schifrin's "Jazz Meets The Symphony" series. These include recordings with the London Symphony and the Czech National Symphony.
As well as playing instruments, James Morrison has also had input into the process of creating them. In early 2010 he formed an association with Austrian brass manufacturer "Schagerl" and they have produced a number of "signature" models. These include two series - the custom, hand-made "Meister" series and the intermediate professional "Academica" series. There are trumpets and trombones in both series and the Meister series also includes a flugel horn and bass trumpet.
His new most prolific design is his new trumpet called "The Raven". The horn is unique for using rotary valves with a long lead pipe normally associated with a piston trumpet. As he describes in his blog: "The design comes from my wish to have a rotary valve instrument due to the different articulation you get compared to piston valves. I find the rotary sounds more precise and there is a smaller “dead spot” between when you push the valve and when the next note comes out clearly. This is particularly noticeable when playing quickly in the upper register (something I like to do)."
An earlier instrument creation project with designer and robotics expert Steve Marshall, produced the Morrison Digital Trumpet, a MIDI wind controller that looks and acts like a futuristic version of a regular trumpet. It allows a trumpeter to play electronic sounds in much the same way as a pianist can play an electronic synthesizer.
In addition, Morrison has broadened his love of musical technology to include vocal performing. On his collaboration 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 is a Roland keyboard (VP770) that has a microphone attached and 'sings' whatever Morrison speaks into the microphone - producing the sound of a choir.
James Morrison Studios 
Morrison has also designed and built his own recording studio, located in Sydney. It is in continual use and has already recorded a vast array of quality Australian jazz musicians including Dan Clohesy, Jake Barden, Don Burrows, Liam Burrows, John Morrison, The Swing City Big Band, The Generations In Jazz Academy Big Band, Graeme Lyall and more. The studio has some of the world's latest and best equipment as well as over 5 different recording rooms.
Morrison played the wrong Spanish National Anthem at the Davis Cup Final in Australia in 2003. Instead of playing the current anthem, La Marcha Real, he performed the Himno de Riego, not heard since the Second Republic era, causing the enraged Spanish Secretary of State for Sport to walk out in anger. Morrison later revealed he had mistakenly learned the incorrect tune due to being given the wrong sheet music. Fortunately an official quickly found a CD of the correct anthem, placating the Spanish and allowing the match to proceed.
Radio and TV presenter; Top Gear Australia and Behind The Wheel 
- For a number of years, Morrison has been the presenter of the in-flight jazz radio station for Qantas Airways.
- In 1994, James presented Behind The Wheel, a motoring television series on Network Ten. Ten saw the benefits of a series like this and commissioned 18 episodes. It aired on a Tuesday night at 7.30pm to an audience of 2.1 million viewers.
The pilot episode was produced by Tim Kupsch – Producer (ex 60 mins producer) Andy Wallace and James Morrison. Unlike Top Gear, the show ideas and script were largely conceived "on the fly" by James and Tim.
- On 19 December 2008, presenter Charlie Cox announced his departure from Top Gear Australia due to lack of time. Morrison 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.
- 2012 - "Live at Edge" - James Morrison performs classic gospel hymns live with the Edge Church musicians.
- 2011 - "Snappy Too" - James Morrison plays a whole big band with Jeff Hamilton on drums.
- 2010 - "Three's Company" - James Morison with Phil Stack and James Muller
- 2010 - Feels Like Spring - James Morrison and The Idea of North
- 2007 - Christmas
- 2007 - The Other Woman - James Morrison and Deni Hines
- 2006 - Gospel Collection Volume II
- 2006 - 2x2 - James Morrison and Joe Chindamo
- 2005 - Gospel Collection
- 2003 - On The Edge - with Simon Stockhausen
- 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 Horn 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 sideman 
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With Lalo Schifrin
- More Jazz Meets the Symphony (Atlantic, 1993)
- Firebird: Jazz Meets the Symphony No. 3 (Four Winds, 1995)
- Metamorphosis: Jazz Meets the Symphony#4 (Aleph, 1998)
See also