Drive Me the Funk Home
Newest release from popular smooth jazz saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith, Jr. is an all live perfromance rendition of great tunes by masters John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, and more. Funky bass and driving percussions - the Wurltizer/Horner keyboard keeps things moving right along! James Earl "Jimmie" Highsmith, Jr. Born September 18,1967 in "Flower City" Rochester NY, The Birthplace of Jazz luminaries Cab Calloway, PeeWee Ellis, Chuck Mangione and many others. 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 song writing in his later years. A music teacher introduced him to the harmonious sound of the saxophone. He began playing the saxophone, shortly thereafter. Recognizing Jimmies 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 to the High School for Performing Arts where he walked the halls with and befriended other standouts like Motion Picture Actor/TV Star Scott "Taye" Diggs, R&B Singer Charlene "Tweet" Keys and Opera Diva Regina Zona. At School of the Arts, Jimmie was exposed to a musically competitive environment of band competitions, jazz combo performances, composition classes and other competitive solo scenarios. In Jimmies senior year, he auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he played Baritone sax in the Eastman School of Music Jazz Ensemble. 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. During this time, 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 and Tops in Blue. In 1992 Jimmie returned to Rochester where he launched his professional music career. Jimmie has formed many bands, which have been recognized as top regional jazz bands playing in big music festivals and clubs. He has shared the stage with multiple Grammy Award winners, including Alicia Keys and Wynton Marsalis. His sax work represents some of the best in the Smooth Jazz and Contemporary Jazz Genre. Jimmie has also performed with many notables such as: Chris Beard, Paul Boutte, Joe Beard, Carl Thomas, Grey Mayfield, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Reed, Johnny O'Neal and Yolanda Adams. He and his band have also opened for many big named artist, such as: Natalie Cole, Little Richard, Najee, 'Papa John' DeFrancesco, Robert Cray Blues Band, Joyce Cooling, Montell Jordan, Shameika Copeland, Neville Brothers, Me'chelle Ndegeocello, Jodie Watley, Temptations and The Isley Brothers. Discography: "WGMC Meet The Artist" 10/98 WGMC Jazz Radio 90.1 "103.9 WDKX Christmas Celebration" 12/01 Roc Music LLC "Passive Thoughts" 9/02 Variance Records "Another Ring On The Tree" 7/04 Professor Lift Band "Jacquin" 9/04 Variance Records "Why" 3/06 Roc Music LLC "Intimate Passions Intimate Thoughts" 10/06 Variance Records "Everything" 3/07 Black August "It is what it Is" 4/07 Variance Records December of 2006 Jimmie was inducted into The Prestigious FCD Duke Ellington Hall of Fame for Musical Genius. Board Member for: NEAD "North East Area Development" April 2005 - Present RFRI "Rochester Fatherhood Resource Initiative" Jan 2006 - Present Rochester A.B.O.V.E. 'Vice President' May 2005 - President Member of BMI Broadcast Music, Inc The Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester The Rotary Club of Greater Rochester Howard Coles Society Rochester A.B.O.V.E. "Honorary Chair 2007" Unified Tae Kwon do "Black Belt Candidate"