Introduction

Since starting piano lessons at the age of 4 and playing his first professional gig at 13, James Simpson has recorded and performed with some of the world's greatest singers and musicians to include Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Erykah Badu, Gwen McCrae, Billy Ocean, Nneka,  Nelly Furtado, Roy Hargrove, Lizz Wright and The Temptations as well as being a reputable artist himself and founder of the internationally renowned Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra (Barry White Show). 

 

Next to his work as a multi-instrumentalist (drummer, organist, keyboardist and vocalist), he has been active behind the scenes as a producer, director, composer, arranger and businessman with various groups from Gospel to Soul to Hip Hop to Rock. All of this amounts to over 30 years of diverse experience in the entertainment business.

To book one of James Simpson's current groups for your festival/venue, request a customized program for your event or if you are interested in an artistic collaboration, live or in the studio:

 

Collaborations

selection

 

Abdu Salim

Acoustic Alchemy

Albey Donely

Alex Bugnon

Allen Blairman

Anita Baker

Billy Allen

Billy Ocean

Brannen Temple

Christian Eckert

Charles Shaw

Dr. James Polk

Damion Marley 

Dany Martinez

David Benoit

David "Fat Head" Newman

David Haynes

Dwight Robson

Edward Wade

Edwin Livingston

Ebo Shakoor

Ephraim Owens

Eric Gable

Fingerprint

George Braith

George McCrae

Gwen McCrae

Hiram Bullock

J.J. Johnson

James Williams

Jason Wright & The Wright Thing

John "Jab'o" Starks

John Ussery

Juan "Chucho" Valdez

Karl Denson

Karl Frierson

Keith Anderson

Kerry Wilkins

Kim Waters

Kip Blackshire 

Kirk Whalum

Knut Rössler

Kyle Turner

Larry Willis

Leo Will

Les Fisher

Liz McComb

Lizz Wright

Michael Ward

Mitch Watkins

Najee

NAS

Natalie Cole

Nelly Furtado

Nneka

Nicole Metzger

Pam O'Neal

Pam Williams

Pancho Sanchez

Paul Jackson, Jr.

Pax Wallace

Peter Klinger

Phil Dricoll Orchestra

Regina Carter 

Reggie Washington

Roger Troutman

Ronnie Laws

Roy Hargrove

Shelly Carol

Shirley Murdock

SOS Band

Stefan Raab

The Temptations

Thomas Hughes

Toni Harrid

Toni Spearman

Trevor Richards

Vanda Guzman

Waymon Tisdale

Wesley G.

Willie Jones, III

Zapp

Places

selection

 

COUNTRIES 

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Canada

France

Germany

Hungary

Indonesia

Ireland

Italy

Lithuania ?

Luxembourg

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Spain

Switzerland

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States of America

THEATRES/CLUBS

Alcatraz Club | Budapest (HU)

Alte Feuerwache | Mannheim (DE)

Auditorio Municipal | Almeria ES)

Boite | Barcelona (ES)

Cabaret Voltaire | Edinburgh (GB)

Capitol | Mannheim (DE)

Catfish Station | Atlanta (US)

Catfish Station | Austin (US)

Cave 54 | Heidelberg (DE)

Cave 61 | Heilbronn (DE)

Cody's | Houston (US)

Cosmolite | Oslo (NO)

Cotillion Ballroom | Birmingham (US)

Down Under | Hanau (DE)

Elephant Room | Austin (US)

Gateshead | Newcastle (GB)

Gigi's Jazz | Dallas (US)

Gran Teatro De Cordoba (ES)

Jamboree Jazz Club | Barcelona (ES)

Jazz Café | London (GB)

Jazzhaus Heidelberg (DE)

Jazzkeller Frankfurt (DE)

Klapsmühl' am Rathaus (DE)

Knitting Factory | New York (US)

La Scène Bastille | Paris (FR)

Mercury | Austin (US)

Midtown Live | Austin (US)

Midtown Live | Houston (US)

Muddy's Club Weinheim (DE)

Muddy Waters | Dallas (US)

Nationaltheater Mannheim (DE)

New Morning | Paris (FR)

Nuevo Teatro Circo | Cartagena (ES)

Palo Palo | Hannover (DE)

Philharmonie Essen (DE)

Pink | Zermatt (CH)

Porsche 911 Club | Gstaad (CH)

Soho | Mannheim (DE)

Sunset Jazz Club | Girona (ES)

Teatro Cervantes | Malaga (ES)

The Jazz Bar | Edinburgh (GB)

FESTIVALS

Aalener Jazz Festival (DE)

Benson and Hedges Jazz Festival (US)

Cactus Jazz Festival (US)

Catalina Island Jazz Festival (US)

Edinburgh Jazz Festival (GB)

ERP Remember Cascais (PT)

Fetters Jazz Festival (GB)

Hildabrand Jazz Festival (CA)

Jazz En Tete (FR)

Java Jazz Festival (ID)

Leverkusen Jazz Festival (DE)

KerpenErleben (DE)

Lollapalooza Festival (US)

Händels Open (D)

Manerbio Jazz Festival (IT)

Montreal Jazz Festival (CA)

Musikerlebnis (DE)

New Port Jazz Festival (US)

North Sea Jazz Festival (NL)

Sofia Jazz Festival (BG)

South by Southwest SXSW (US)

Zilka Jazz Festival (US)

OTHER

Austin Music Awards (US)

German Gospel Awards (DE)

Jimmy Vaughn's 50th Birthday (US)

Radio Regenbogen Awards (DE)

Discography

 

1988 James Simpson

Living in Reality (RnB / Pop)

1989 James Simpson 

Beginning of a Dream (RnB / Hip Hop)

1992 Mannheim Community Mass Choir 

Live (Gospel)

 

1993 Le Lee 

The Lovely Lady Singer (RnB / Hip Hop)

 

1995 Kyle Turner 

Sincerely Yours (Jazz)

 

1998 John Ussery 

Gettin' Lucky (Blues)

 

1999 The Simms Foundation

Compilation with Hot Buttered Rhythm 

2000 Blackshear 

Destiny (RnB)

2001 Hot Buttered Rhythm 

Blacksoundspoitation (Acid Jazz)

 

2002 Stefan Raab feat. Shaggy 

Gebt Das Hanf Frei (Hip Hop)

 

2003 One Son 

Poor Man's Testimony (Hip Hop)

2003 Jubilee Jumpers 

Jump Session (Swing)

 

2003 James Simpson 

Soul Revival (Soul Jazz)

 

2004 Blaze 

Live in Barcelona 2004 (Jazz / Funk)

 

2005 Blairman, Schönborn, Simpson 

Like Back In The Days (Jazz)

 

2005 Dwight Robson 

Ain't It Good To Know (Gospel)

 

2005 Reencuentro Vol. #4 

Indian's Visions (World Music)

 

2006 Karl Frierson 

Soulprint (Soul/Pop)

 

2006 Greg McKoy /James Simpson 

Never Alone (Gospel)

 

2007 Kyle Turner   

Collection (Smooth Jazz)

 

2007 Zlatko & The Zodiacs 

Springtime In Paris (Blues)

 

2009 Labana 

White! (Latin)

Video & TV Performances

1994 Kyle Turner & Standing Room Only
Austin Music Network (Austin, Texas)
 

1998 Hot Buttered Rhythm
Morning TV (Toronto, Canada)
 

1998 Hot Buttered Rhythm
Austin Music Awards (Austin, Texas)
 

1999 James Simpson Group
Austin Music Network (Austin, Texas)
 

2001 James Simpson Group
Austin Music Network (Austin, Texas)
 

2002 Stefan Raab feat. Shaggy 
Music Video "Gebt Das Hanf Frei!" shown on MTV Europe, VIVA, Real TV 
 

2003 Roy Hargrove RH Factor
Leverkusener Jazztage auf WDR (Leverkusen, Germany)
 

2004 James Simpson 
Documentary "From The Heart" shown at South by Southwest Film Festival (Austin, Texas) 
 

2005 Rev. Dwight Robson & The Voices of Gospel
Gospel Award auf RTL (Berlin, Germany)
 

2006 Gwen McCrae
France Canal 2 (Paris, France)
 

2009 James Simpson's Gospel Classics
Top Destination TV (Austria)

2015 Billy Ocean

Radio Regenbogen Award Show

 

2017 Nelly Furtado

Radio Regenbogen Award Show

 

2018 Leo Will

Undercover Boss – Celebrity Special with Angelo Kelly
 

 

Biography

1972   born in Ft. Devins, Massachusetts and raised in Ceres, California

1976   12 years of private piano lessons (classical music)

1978   learns how to play the saxophone

1978   learns how to play the drums

 

1983   member of "National Guild of Piano Teachers" (USA)

1987   "Best Soloist Award“ for piano and saxophone (Los Angeles, CA)

1988   "Best Soloist Award“ for piano, saxophone and drums (Los Angeles, CA)

1988   "Louis Armstrong Jazz Award“ (Ceres, CA)

1988   foundation of "$olid Rock Production$“ in California

1989   rejection of record deal offered by Profile Records

 

1990   US Army in Mannheim, Germany

1991   music productions out of barracks room

1992   move to Killeen, Texas

1992   until today: professional musician

1995   opening of "Solid Rock Records“ recording studio

1995   tours and records with Kyle Turner

1998   learns how to play the organ, inspired by the recording of John Ussery's album "Gettin' Lucky"

 

2001   move to Mannheim, Germany

2002   music video w/ Stefan Raab feat. Shaggy on MTV

2003   European tour with The Temptations

2003   European tour with Roy Hargrove & RH Factor

2004   James Simpson's "Soul Revival" album released

2005   Blairman / Schönborn / Simpson's "Like Back in the Days" album released

2005   plays at German Gospel Awards

2005   European tour with Gwen McCrae

2006   European tour with Funk Masters Jab'o Starks and Clyde Stubblefield

2006   Featured Artist on the Doodlin' Lounge Radio Program

2006   plays at Edinburgh Jazz Festival

2006   James Simpson and Greg McKoy release "Never Alone" Gospel album

2006   European tour James Simpson's Gospel Classics

2007   voted "jazz organist of February 2007" by International Archives of Jazz Organ

2009   founds the Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra

2010   nominated for Artist Allstars Award “Musician of the Year“ with the Barry White Show (Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra)

2012   plays at Java Jazz Festival with the Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra 

2015   European tour with Lizz Wright

2015   plays for Billy Ocean at the Radio Regenbogen Award Show

2016   plays at Philharmonie Essen with the Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra 

2017   plays for Nelly Furtado at the Radio Regenbogen Award Show

Want to dig deeper into James Simpson's biography? Check out the detailed text version with personal anecdotes: 

 

Photos

James Simpson on the Hammond organ

James Simpson on drums

James Simpson on vocals