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The Early Years
Jim postcard

Jim began studying piano at the age of 6 with Mary Ann Rietz who he remained with for the next twelve years. He started clarinet lessons at age 9, saxophone lessons at age 12 and string bass lessons at age 15. He began private study with George Shearing at age 16. David Baker (jazz studies) and John Ogden (classical piano) were his next important teachers when Jim attended Indiana University where he received a BMD and was awarded the Performers Certificate in Piano/Jazz Studies in recognition of outstanding musical performance. While in school, Jim worked in the Indianapolis area with musicians such as Red Rodney, Eddie Harris, Tim Hagens and Slide Hampton. When not working with the jazzers, Jim was in a bar band that played classic motown, 70s and 80s pop such as EWF, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Jeffrey Osborne. The other members of this band were Kenny Aronoff (drums), Bob Hurst (bass) and Jon Herington (guitar). The band had a horn section and Chris Botti was the trumpet player. Jim also worked with Connie Stevens, Roger Miller and Bobby Rydell before moving to New York.


Billy Ward, Tim Smith, Miles Davis, me and Jon Herington (1987)
Bill Evans was behind the camera.
"Ughh... thank god the 80's fashion days are gone"