Grooving Funk Beats

He plays vocal-toned, riff-driven soul and funk… [and] he does it with power and a poetic poignancy..” This is “soul and funk with sparkle.
— the Guardian

The “grooving funk beats” of James Morton and his crew!

James Morton is seen to be one of the most exciting saxophone players of his generation. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the funk music of James Brown, hip-hop and jazz - and this can still be recognised as a strong thread in his music and performance today; exciting and funky, soulful, strongly rhythmic, gospel tinged... He has a unique, lyrical and rhythmic style which conveys great emotion and it is perhaps this that really connects him with his audiences and what makes him such a special and in-demand player.

Bristol-based, James has worked extensively with his idols including Pee-Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Andy Sheppard, Kasabian, Raphael Saadiq, (the list goes on..) and he is also a part of hip-hop legends The Herbaliser with whom he regularly tours and collaborates.

We are fortunate that James is becoming something of a regular at Live at Loyton gigs!  In anticipation of his session with us on Sunday night, we chatted with James just before he jumped on a flight Poland to play his sell out gigs there!  Here’s what he said.


How would you describe your jazz music style?

I would say I was very "jazzy". I come more from the funk, soul, blues and gospel school of things.

What is a favorite music memory?

The first time I played with Pee wee Ellis (James Brown's musical director and tenor sax player) I was 17 and had a very emotional experience playing on stage with him for the first time.

What do you like most about what you do?

The communication that I have with other musicians and the audience through my music.

Tell us a bit about your summer season, where are you playing?

This year is a very busy year. I am playing all over the world with many different projects. India, Poland, Spain, Romania, France, Hungary, Germany, Montenegro,  the list goes on. It's a very exciting year for me.


What inspired you to pursue music as a career?

I just fell into it really. I started playing it while I was still at school and always associated music with having fun.  [coincidental fact, Lodge Chef Adam was at school with James - what a small world!]

What made you choose the saxophone?

 I played violin and piano from a very early age and then saxophone lessons were available at my school. It was a gold, shiny, sexy looking instrument and I was immediately drawn to it! I think I'm a bit of a magpie! When I started playing it I had a natural affinity for the instrument and haven't put it down since.


What has been your proudest moment to date?

Completing my 2 albums. I don't think that people realise how much blood, sweat and tears go into writing, producing, recording and self-releasing an album.

What music have you been listening to on repeat recently?

DJ Shadow, Raphael Saadiq, Maceo Parker, Poogie Bell

And finally, what is James Morton’s guilty pleasure?! 

Marks and Spencer Percy Pigs!


James Morton performs Live! at Loyton on Sunday 27 May 2018.

Get you tickets here!