Songs in the Key of Wonder, James’ debut album, showcases his tasteful instrumental arrangements of a selection of classic compositions from the songbook of the great Stevie Wonder. James regards Stevie Wonder as one of the greatest composers of our time. Others have covered Stevie’s songs, however, James’ arrangements have a particularly appealing flavor and infectious groove.
The captivating and soulful stylings of James Austin Jr., reveal his jazz pedigree, gospel roots, and his love for classic soul music. James, originally from Chicago, is an accomplished pianist and bandleader. He honed his craft under the tutelage of a number of legendary musicians, including extensive study with renowned jazz educator, Barry Harris. In recognition of his highly skilled musicianship, James has received numerous accolades and awards, including the honor of being selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano competition.
James has performed alongside an illustrious list of singers and musicians in diverse settings throughout the world, including numerous celebrity functions and televised shows. He recently served as pianist and arranger for two star-studded concerts at Carnegie Hall under the baton of esteemed musical director, Ray Chew. James is regularly featured in the New York City area as a pianist and bandleader for various live concerts, theatrical performances, and civic and charitable events. He has curated and led the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Jazz Jam series since its inception. For the past couple of years, he has also served as musical director for jazz phenom Miss Alexis Morrast.