b. Douglas James Schlecht, 21 August 1953, Turlock, California, USA. Encouraged to take an interest in music by his church organist mother, James soon began teaching himself to play saxophone, eventually choosing the baritone member of the family although he also plays tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. After he and his family lived for a while in Oregon, they settled in Rhode Island. There, in 1971, he began a spell with guitarist Duke Robillard’s band, Roomful Of Blues, which has continued intermittently into the new millennium. With this band, James toured internationally and recorded extensively, including Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson And Roomful Of Blues (1982) and Blues Train: Big Joe Turner & Roomful Of Blues (1983). Apart from Eddie Vinson and ‘Big’ Joe Turner, James has often backed other noted blues exponents, including LaVern Baker, Helen Humes, Colin James, Freddie King, Charlie Musselwhite, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Junior Walker, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Witherspoon.
For his own name debut album in 2001, James surrounded himself with former Roomful Of Blues players, including Robillard. Among these musicians is fellow saxophonist ‘Sax’ Gordon Beadle (b. 1965, Detroit, Michigan, USA), with whom James also plays in other formats and he also leads an occasional big band.