Jim Spake lives and works in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, where
he has made his living in music since high school. After attending Berklee
College of Music, where he studied with David Liebman, Bill Pierce,
and Steve Grossman, Jim returned to Memphis and began gigging with local
jazz & R&B groups. While still in his early twenties, he toured
with Levon Helm, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Brenda Lee and in the 80s Spake
became more active in Memphis's recording studios -- everything from
jingles to album sessions. Over the years he's backed touring artists
such as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, The Four Tops, Mose Allison, Chuck
Berry, Ben E. King, and Johnny Mathis.
Memphis's rich musical history continues to draw producers and artists
here to record - perhaps to capture some of the "magic." In
recent decades, Jim's saxophone work is an integral part of the mix.
Al Green, John Hiatt, Toots Hibbert, Lucero, Solomon Burke, Cat Power,
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Rod Stewart, Alex Chilton, and Ike Turner occasionally
lead him back out on the road.
From '93 to '01, the Sweet Soul Music International Soul Festival in
Porretta Terme, Italy was an annual opportunity for Spake to work with
such Soul/R&B icons as Lavern Baker, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, Dan
Penn, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Mavis Staples, Solomon Burke, and Irma
Thomas. The 90's also found Jim touring with Bruce Willis's Accelerators.
Spake was selected by the Memphis chapter NARAS for the Premier Woodwind
Player Award eight times between 1987 and 2001. In 2002 he was inducted
into its Hall of Fame. This spring Jim toured Europe/UK with George
Thorogood & the Destroyers.
Jim contiunes to stay busy w/ his own group, as well as Spondoolicks,
Di Anne Price and her Boyfriends, The
Jumpin' Chi Chis, and just about anyone who's got his number.