James StewartJames is a producer, performer and music educator. Born on a military base in North Carolina and spending his early years in Wilmington, DE certainly didn't seem to set the stage for where James Stewart ended up. He muddled about taking piano lessons and played in dinky local club bands during High School.
After hooking up with the rock band Lighthorse Harry, while attending the University of Delaware, things started to solidify and James became more confident with his playing. A bit of an altercation ensued with the family after James Stewart announced he was going to Berklee College of Music regardless of their wishes. Studying with Bob Winter of the Boston Pops and running with fellow students David Rosenthal (Billy Joel), Steve Vai (Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth), Josh Sklar (Etta James), and Clair Marlo of Sheffield Records, Stewart continued with studies in piano performance, electronic music and studio production. He wrote and performed his music with local rock bands, (Jack Damage being the most notable), throughout New England, sharing stages with artists like legendary jazz pianist Sir Roland Hanna.
After receiving a degree in Professional Music, James relocated to Los Angeles and began logging years of studio time as an engineer and session player with artists like Robbie Nevil, Lamont Dozier, and Phil Collins' band members Rahmley Davis and Chester Thompson, as well as respected producers Henry Lewy and Hal Davis. In his off hours, Stewart performed in groups like Durango 95 and the New Kings, while honing his chops by studying with noted keyboardist John Novello (Chick Corea, Edgar Winter). The year 1993 found James returning to his Wilmington hometown after the Los Angeles riots.
Then the dark years came. No gig, no reason to write music any more, and a huge pile of debt from marketing and promoting three albums. "I decided to quit music, just throw it away, what a waste..." utters James in disgust. "But very quickly I realized I was going nuts without music and I needed to earn a living. So I started teaching private lessons. Slowly, and I mean slowly, it took an awful long time to build up a student body, but I hung on and things turned around. After years of hard work I paid off my album debt and started writing again." And so..., another album has finished being recorded.
Loft Records CDL 1305
Christine Lakeland, guitar, synthesizer, vocals
Joe Sublett, sax
James Stewart, piano, organ
Eric Ajaye, bass
Tim Drummond, bass
Lee Spath, drums
Francisco Aguabella, congas
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