James Earl "Jimmie" Highsmith Jr.
Born September 18, 1967 in "Flower City" Rochester NY, The Birthplace of Jazz luminaries Cab Calloway, PeeWee Ellis, Chuck Mangione and many others. James, or as his friends call him "Jimmie" is a seasoned Jazz musician who began his musical incipiency at the mere age of 7. Jimmie began studying piano, which created an early basis for his song writing in his later years. A music teacher introduced him to the harmonious sound of the saxophone. He began playing the saxophone, shortly thereafter. Recognizing Jimmies promising potential, he was guided to study music at the Hochstein School of Music where he honed his ability to musically shine and stand out from his peers. Jimmie brought that same focus and thirst for music to the High School for Performing Arts where he walked the halls with and befriended other standouts like Motion Picture Actor/TV Star Scott "Taye" Diggs, R&B Singer Charlene "Tweet" Keys and Opera Diva Regina Zona. At School of the Arts, Jimmie was exposed to a musically competitive environment of band competitions, jazz combo performances, composition classes and other competitive solo scenarios. In Jimmies senior year, he auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he played Baritone sax in the Eastman School of Music Jazz Ensemble.
After graduating from High School, Jimmie enlisted in the US Air Force. While stationed in New Jersey, Jimmie found himself in the ideal location to access the New York and Philadelphia jazz scenes. During this time, Jimmie formed a jazz band consisting of musicians from both the US Air Force and Army. The band played at many military events and performed in various countries as part of the entertainment for the International USO Tour and Tops in Blue. In 1992 Jimmie returned to Rochester where he launched his professional music career.
Critically acclaimed saxophonist Jimmie Highsmith has shared the stage with multiple Grammy Award winners, including Najee, Alicia Keys and Wynton Marsalis just too name a few. He has also recorded 5 top selling smooth jazz CD's and recorded as a sideman musician on several others. Jimmie Highsmith Jr's sax work represents some of the best in the Smooth Jazz Genre He has receive such awards as:
December 5th 2006 Jimmie was inducted into The Prestigious FCD Duke Ellington Hall of Fame for Musical Genius. July 5th 2007 Jimmie was awarded The Pride of the Ancestors Award 2007 May 17th 2008 Jimmie was awarded The School of the Arts 2008 Spotlight Award for Musical Achievements September 5th 2008 the Honorable Willie J. Lightfoot nominated Jimmie for the Artist Award in the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester's 25th Annual Arts Awards. September, 13th 2008 Honorable Mayor R. Duffy of Rochester NY, Proclaimed June 1st as Jimmie Highsmith, Jr., Day in Rochester NY