James Gibbs III was born in Newark, NJ and grew up in Irvington. He began his musical roots at 9 playing the alto saxophone and the clarinet. At 10 years old James became the first and the youngest person to ever to become a full time band member of the Irvington High School marching band. He played second chair in alto saxophone section then eventually moving up to the first chair in the trumpet section and later on becoming a section leader in which he held until he graduated. His love for jazz music and the trumpet started around the age of 7 watching Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis play on television and wanted to be like them. Do to the lack of trumpets at his school, he had to play the saxophone and the clarinet until trumpets became available. At 14, he studied trumpet under the leadership of Doug Howell (8th grade). Within three weeks, of learning the trumpet, James has was placed in the first chair section, and became his school's lead trumpeter. Throughout his high school years, he played trumpet with the gospel choir, in the pit band during school plays, the classical ensemble, jazz band, and concert band, he also wrote and arranged alot of the repertoire (especially the marching band). He also played in different churches throughout the region, and political events. One day a family friend and percussionist Lawrence Killiam introduced James to Newark legendary organist Radam Schwartz at the Top Brass club in Newark (March 1993). There, he saw his first ever 'live' jazz show and realized that is what he wants to do with his musical career. James studied under Radam at the (then) Jazz institute of New Brunswick (a non-profit organization founded by trumpeter and Newark Jazz legend Leslie Ford). They studied on Monday nights at Rutgers University in New Brunswick where he would meet his fellow colleagues in which he still performs with today. His first major gig came on December 12, 1994 at the Five Spot in New York City for the WBGO membership party. James shared the stage with jazz stars, Wessel 'Warm Daddy' Anderson (alto sax), Bruce Williams (alto sax), and Riley Mullins (trumpet), and the late legendary Dr. Betty Carter (vocalist), with the top instrumentalist of the jazz institute and in his class. Impressed with his ability, Betty Carter invited James to audition for her annual 'Jazz Ahead' program and passed the audition and became a member of Jazz Ahead in 1996 (annual invitation only), and remained a member until her death in 1998. There, he studied and performed with the best instrumentalists and vocalists throughout the world. James attended Delaware State University under the musical leadership of the legendary Donald Byrd, but majored in English and Mathematics. Throughout his young career, James has met and/or performed with: Dr. Billy Taylor, T.S. Monk, Herbie Hancock, Roberta Flack, Wynton Marsalis, Delfayo Marsalis, Roy Ayers, Jimmy Heath, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Grady Tate, Terrence Blanchard, Jon Faddis, George Benson, David 'Pic' Conley of Surface, Cecil Brooks III, John Lee, and many other great, legendary, instrumentalist, vocalists, and personalities of our time. He currently finished his debut CD entitled 'Relaxin' and anticipates to release three more CD's including a Christmas CD within the next year. Besides playing the trumpet, James is and avid pool player, and bowler. He also enjoys playing baseball, basketball, football, weight lifting, karate, boxing, fishing, distance driving, and cooking. His alternate musical lifestyle includes: track producing, educating, engineering, playing multiple instruments, arranging, and composing. His ultimate goal is to become a world renown musician and producer.
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