Based out of Rochester, New York, James, or as his friends call him “Jimmie”
is a seasoned Jazz musician who began his musical incipiency at the mere age
of 7. Jimmie began studying piano, which created an early basis for
his music writing in his later years. His music teacher introduced
him to and he began playing the
saxophone, shortly thereafter. Recognizing Jimmie’s promising potential,
he was guided to study music at the Hochstein School of Music where
he honed his ability to musically shine and stand out from his peers.
Jimmie brought that same focus and thirst for music playing to the
High School for Performing Arts. At the High School for the Performing Arts,
Jimmie was exposed to a musically competitive environment of band
competitions, jazz combo performances, and other competitive
solo scenarios. In Jimmie’s senior year of high school, he auditioned for
and was accepted into the prestigious Eastman School of Music,
where he played Baritone sax in the Eastman School Jazz Band.
After graduating from High School, Jimmie enlisted in the US Air Force.
While stationed in New Jersey, Jimmie found himself in the ideal location
to access the New York and Philadelphia jazz scenes. In the service,
Jimmie formed a jazz band consisting of musicians from both the
US Air Force and Army. The band played at many military events
and performed in various countries as part of the entertainment
for the International USO Tour. In 1992 Jimmie returned to Rochester
where he launched his professional music career and the rest is history.
Jimmie has formed many jazz bands, which have been recognized as top
regional jazz bands playing in big music festivals and clubs.
Jimmie Highsmith, Jr. has performed with many notables such as:
Paul Boutte, Chris Beard, Joe Beard, Wessell Anderson, Carl Thomas,
Wyciffe Gordon, Eric Reed, Wynton Marsalis and Yolanda Adams.
He and his band have also opened for many greats, like: Natalie Cole,
Little Richard, Najee, “Papa John” DeFrancesco, Robert Cray Blues Band,
Joyce Cooling, Montell Jordan, Shameika Copeland, Nevllle Brothers,
Temptations, and the Isley Brothers.
“ Being a sax player myself, I am big on playing with emotion and
feeling, and I can tell when a musician is mechanical in their playing.
Well,... let me tell ya, Jimmie plays his heart and soul out, it’s
undeniable where he pulls his strength from, the greatest musician
in the universe, Jesus!” EN “Roc Music, LLC Jazz Saxophonist”
Jimmie launched his DEBUT cd, entitled, Passive Thoughts in
September 2002 with Variance Records.
“Jimmie mixes elements of smooth Jazz, R&B, Gospel, and Funk,
culminating into a kaleidoscope of musical textures. “Upstate Funk”
is a funky joint that’ll “get yer boutte” up and moving, while “
Once Upon A Time,” takes the listener on a melodic journey through
a delightful trek of soulful melodies as sax and keyboard compliment
one another. Two versions of the song, “May I Love You,” exist,
which give the listener a taste of Jimmie’s arranging versatility
and creativity. This disc is a “must have” if you enjoy serious
smooth jazz with a positive vibe.
If you’re a fan of Kirk Whalum, Branford Marsalis, or the late
Grover Washington, Jr., you’ll enjoy this CD tremendously,..
Go Buy it NOW!!” >>EP Rockline Magazine Vol.2 Issue 3
“Saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith Jr. rips it up on his debut CD,
Passive Thoughts!! Highsmith studied sax at Hochstein, School
of the Arts and the Eastman School of Music, and his training
is evident. With jazz stylings that go from smooth to funk,
Highsmith adds healthy doses of R&B as well. A mostly instrumental
endeavor, Highsmith is joined by select vocalists on a couple tracks,
including Shawn "Black" Jackson and "Divine Nature." Originals like
"Upstate Funk" and "Just Chillin'" are especially infectious…….”>>>>>>
M Picardo FREETIME Magazine Vol. 26 No. 12