As a multifaceted and versatile musician, saxist and woodwind player, The James Perkins performance repertoire reads like a virtual “who’s who” of the music business. Having played on over 250 albums, thousands of jingles, commercials and industrials, and having been on hundreds of tours and productions locally, nationally and abroad with everybody from Albert King to Bobby Lyle, He has indeed enjoyed the title of “Chicago’s 1st call saxophonist” for the last twenty years and has been recognized as […”a master of his craft and instrument” San Francisco Times, 1992][“…an exciting and exhilarating force to be reckoned with!”L.A. Times.
Mr. Perkins has also been the recipient of several awards, some of which include; The 1986 Budweiser Showdown Award for 1st place R&B group (which included a recording contract with Warner Brothers Records), Several awards of merit for musical contributions and services during numerous tours of Japan from 1986 to 1992. In 1988 he was selected and awarded a permanent listing to the “Outstanding Young Americans” journal as well as having his locally led group ‘The James Perkins Ensemble’ featured at the renowned Chicago Jazz Festival. During his military service tours as a member of U.S Navy Band (1994-2000) he received several awards of merit, which also included a ‘Letter of Commendation for Outstanding Performance of Duties’ from the Commander of Naval Station Great Lakes.
His performance and recording credits also include such notables as; Dr. Billy Taylor, Phil Perry, Jack Mcduff, Lynne Jordan and The Shivers, Von and George Freeman, The Winans, Ramsey Lewis, The Dells, The Chi-Lites, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Anita Baker, Michael Wolfe, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Lou Rawls, Kristy Black, The Imperials, Malachi Favors, Don Moye and The Sun Percussion, The Shadow Vignettes Orchestra, The Brien Perry Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Grant Park Orchestra, The James Mack Orchestra, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson, Ashford and Simpson, Dawn Lewis, Henry Johnson, The critically acclaimed production of ‘Five Guys Names Moe’, The AACM, The Chicago Cats, Daryl Tookes, Robert Irving III, Val Gray Ward, Malachi Thompson, Grand Staff, Teresa Griffin, Phase4, Nat Adderly, Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Billy Higgins, Ed Thigpen, Joan Collaso, Kwamee Steve Cobb and Chavunduka, Stefon Harris, Donovan, Mambo 911 Orchestra, and many, many more just to name a few.
Born and educated in Chicago (August 17, 1960) (Northeastern Illinois University), James not only plays and teaches woodwinds, but also leads two performing groups; The James Perkins Ensemble [“A strong unit that performs everything from serious “straight ahead” to” fusion” Patricia Smith/Chicago Sun Times], and The James Perkins Trio, [“A group that outswings them all” Larry Smith/WBEZ JAZZ RADIO/Chicago]. James also leads “The Perks”, a horn section that has gained much notoriety and respect amongst the more serious bands in the Chicago area.