Jim showed an interest in the piano at age 4 when his older sister started taking piano lessons. His parents had just bought an acoustic piano. After she would practice, he would crawl up on the piano bench and play many of the same notes she played without any coaching. He also was starting to learn his A B Cs. When he figured out which letter went to which white key, he started blurting out notes when he heard songs on the radio. His parents didn't think much of it at first. As he continued, they decided to test his ability to know the notes without looking. They took him to the piano, turned him around and he was able to identify every white key correctly. They didn't know what this was but discovered later that it was an unusual talent he was born with called, "Perfect Pitch".
They started him early on piano. He took classical piano lessons for 14 years up until he was given a piano performance scholarship to attend the BYU school of music. He only attended one year and then started raising a family in his early 20s. He then learned how to tune and repair pianos. After moving to Arizona from California, he continued his piano tuning business and also performed where he could. He played the piano at a local resort for 7 years on the weekend and also performed at weddings, anniversaries and other local civic events.
When he was 25, he began writing songs. He discovered with his perfect pitch that he was able to easily improvise and add music to lyrics. He also enjoyed improvising piano only pieces. In 2005, he had enough original piano pieces to create his first CD, "Piano in the Desert". This was a suite of 14 original pieces that paint different scenes of the desert (where he lives in Arizona). He also created his first vocal CD entitled, "Music from the Light". These were 16 original songs and lyrics that he recorded and performed himself on the CD.
In 2007, he added a CD of his favorite classical pieces that included pieces like Chopin's Minute Waltz, Malaguena, Flight of the Bumble Bee, Moonlight Sonata and Lizst's Hungarian Rhapsody #2. He also threw in a medley of four Scott Joplin Rags and four patriotic songs. He came out with his second vocal CD, "Music from the Light 2" later that same year.
In 2009, he wrote an original song for Memorial Day titled, "Gone but not Forgotten". This has been performed in many ceremonies in AZ since that time honoring the veterans we have lost in current and past conflicts. This song has raised money for various veteran's charities and he hopes it will continue to raise money and awareness to honor our veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice and the Gold Start families who are left behind to grieve their passing.
In 2018, the 2nd all piano CD was recorded. It includes a violin solo with "Beauty" and the last three pieces include the Djembe drum to add rhythm. The album cover is an original painting by the artist Anthony Keyes.
In 2019, Endless Grace is a vocal CD that combines original music written to sacred text: 23rd Psalm, Lord's Prayer, Prayers of St. Francis and St. Patrick as well as original spiritual songs that are personal in nature. The 23rd Psalm was written with a middle eastern perspective imagining the music that King David would've written. The Lord's Prayer and St. Francis are vocal harmony pieces (all my voices). Christ in Me was inspired by the original prayer of St. Patrick for protection. If There is Peace was performed by middle school singers from Glendale, AZ. The other original songs are different experiences in my life shared in music and song. The last track is a quiet instrumental - my own take on the famous song "Amazing Grace" with a quieter feel. This album is my unique perspective of the religious background I grew up in and the spiritual world I find myself exploring. Enjoy!
It is his intention to inspire young pianists and composers/song writers to keep at their craft - keep creating and making their own music. It's not about comparing your music and skill with another musician or becoming popular or famous, it's about expressing yourself through sound to bring joy and healing to those who hear and find solace in the music that is created.