James Morton was born in Bristol in 1982. James has English, Russian and Polish heritage and started learning saxophone age 9. He played his first gig at age 12 and grew up performing in groups in the South of England playing with established musicians on the scene. James often performed in venues where he was too young to enter and sometimes had to pretend to be a relative of a club owner or manager.
James left school at age 16 to pursue his career in music and at age 21 won a place on a Masters degree course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he completed his masters degree in jazz one year later.
James has developed his unique voice through direct influences from funk, soul, jazz, gospel, latin and urban music. He has the ability to communicate to an audience through his saxophone and directly project deep emotion across to the listener in a lyrical style.
James has two key mentors in the form of Andy Sheppard and Pee Wee Ellis who he continually works with in a variety of projects.
At age 16 James performed on the Jazz/World stage at Glastonbury festival and has continued to appear on large festival stages across Europe and as far as Texas U.S.A. James first played with Pee Wee Ellis age 17 and continues to draw inspiration and advice from Pee Wee. James is now a core member of Pee Wee Ellis' ‘Still Black Still Proud’, an African tribute to James Brown that has toured main stages at festivals all over Europe and has involved guest artists including Fred Wesley, Cheik Lo, Martha High, Angelique Kidjo and Tony Allen to name a few.
Andy Sheppard is also a mentor to James. This relationship has developed over the last few years after Andy saw James playing with his jazz quartet in a club in Bristol. This quartet developed into James Morton and Lunatics and featured Andy in a number of gigs across the UK. Andy also composed a suite of music "The Hotel Suite" for the group which knocked out crowds across the country. James is now an integral soloist in Andy Sheppard’s Sax Massive who opened the London Jazz Festival in 2007 and have also performed at Coutance Jazz festival.
James appears on Pendulum's platinum selling Drum 'n' Bass album SLAM and has also performed with Fred Wesley, Winton Marsalis, Billy Cobham, Jason Rebello, Abraham Wilson, Beth Rowley, Snowboy and Tomorrow's Warriors to name a few.
James was nominated for Serious music's Take five award in 2007 and The PRS promoters choice award in 2008.