James Morton is one of the most exciting saxophone players of his generation. After his critically acclaimed release Don’t You Worry ‘Bout That (2010) by James Morton’s Porkchop, his highly anticipated new solo album The Kid is due for release in June 2016 with an all-star line up, including a four-piece horn section and an array of special guests including Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Andy Sheppard, Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser), Ian Mathews (Kasabian) and The Easy Access Horns (The Herbaliser).
The album’s title owes itself to James’ nickname, “The Kid”, which was earned after playing the clubs, venues and festivals in and around Southern England from the age of twelve. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the funk music of James Brown, hip-hop and jazz and it is these influences – not to mention the presence of his biggest mentors on the album – that he brings together on The Kid, making it an exciting funky, soulful, gospel tinged album. The Kid features all original material, and is, for the most part instrumental, driven by grooving funk beats. Tracks such as Do Dat, Stand Up and The Swerve fall very much into JB’s territory, while Step Up brings in some different textures through vocalist Alex Johansen. The Hymn then takes things down to a more soulful groove with the Soul Collective Gospel Choir. Andy Sheppard, who has been a major mentor, features on If They Only Knew, a track James specifically wrote for him. By bringing all his key mentors and influences – Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Andy Sheppard – together, the album becomes a storyboard for his career, charting his musical journey from where he began, to where he is now. And it’s quite an achievement!
These days, James regularly plays with his idols – he has worked extensively (15 years) with Pee-Wee Ellis and recently recorded (and performed) with Fred Wesley and The New JB’s. He is also a member of British hip-hop legends The Herbaliser who he continues to tour and collaborate with. His unique lyrical and rhythmic style, which allows him to directly “speak” to his audience, conveys a strong sense of emotion that really connects with people and is what makes him such a special – and in demand – player.
Throughout his career James has worked with some of the world’s best known and exciting artists, including Kasabian, Raphael Saadiq, Pendulum, George Clinton, Tony Allen, Roni Size, Angelique Kidjo, Carleen Anderson, Jazz Jamaica and Fred Wesley and The New JB’s, to name a few. Most recently he worked as part of NPG Hornz playing with Liv Warfield and other members from Prince’s band and in 2014 he was appointed Ambassador of Music for his home town, Bristol.