Professor of Saxophone & Jazz Studies
Matthew James is Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at the Ohio University School of Music in Athens, Ohio. He serves as Director of Jazz Studies, directs Jazz Ensemble I, and teaches applied saxophone. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo prior to joining the Ohio University faculty in 1997. James was the recipient of the 2021 Ohio University School of Music Service Award and the 2008 Ohio University School of Music Outstanding Teaching Award.
A dedicated teacher, clinician and performer, James has appeared at numerous regional, domestic, and international venues. International activities have included recitals and masterclasses at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and the World Flutes Festival (Mendoza, Argentina), Conservatorio Nacional de Musica (Buenos Aires, Argentina), the University of Bergen (Bergen, Norway), and the World Saxophone Congress (Strasbourg, France). He has collaborated with saxophone studios across the United States, along with performances at conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance, Society of Composers Inc., International Double Reed Society, College Music Society, and Jazz Education Network. His former students hold teaching and performing positions across America.
James performed as lead alto saxophonist for 1-1/2 years with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring the U.S., Canada, Japan and South America, recording, and appearing often on radio and television. He performed and recorded as lead alto saxophonist with the Phil Collins Big Band, touring 26 cities in the U.S. and Europe, including Montreux, Nice, The Hague, Milan, Copenhagen, Pori, and Carnegie Hall. His freelance work has included performances with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Toledo Jazz Orchestra, the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the New Remnants Jazz Orchestra, the Famous Jazz Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Mel Torme, the Temptations, Lou Rawls, Donna Summer, Gregory Porter, The Four Tops, Rosemary Clooney, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Four Freshmen, UpBeat Brass, Latin Jazz Project, Toledo Symphony, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Los Viejos Blanquitos, Ohio Valley Symphony, Lancaster Festival Orchestra, touring Broadway shows, and many others. He has taught at Michigan’s Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and has directed student ensembles for the Columbus Youth Jazz Program, the educational component of the Columbus Jazz Arts Group.
A native of the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois, he was awarded the BA in Music and the BA in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. He earned the MM and DMA in Saxophone Performance from the University of North Texas, where he was a teaching fellow and lead alto saxophonist with the internationally-acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band. He has studied saxophone with Stephen Duke and James Riggs.
Recording credits include: Opening Lines (2014 release available on iTunes and CD Baby); The Music of Brian Bevelander (Equilibrium Recordings); File Under Latin Jazz (Los Viejos Blanquitos on Brick City Records); A Hot Night in Paris (Phil Collins Big Band on Atlantic Records); Singin’ With the Big Bands (Barry Manilow with Glenn Miller Orchestra on Sony Legacy); and Unsung Hero (Top Brass). He can also be heard on Lab ’96 with the UNT 1:00 Lab Band.
Click for audio of Matthew James performing excerpts of Night Vision by Ohio University faculty composer Dr. Mark Phillips. Alejandro Cremaschi is pianist.
Night Vision, mvt. I excerpt
Night Vision, mvt. II excerpt
Night Vision, mvt. III excerp