James Genus James Genus

American jazz bassist. He plays both electric bass guitar and upright bass and currently plays in the Saturday Night Live Band. Genus has performed as a session musician and sideman throughout his career, with an impressive list of artists with whom he has worked.

Genus was born in Hampton, Virginia. He began on guitar at age six and switched to bass at 13. He studied at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1983 to 1987 where he studied under jazz great Ellis Marsalis (father of Branford, Wynton and Delfeayo). Receiving a degree in jazz studies, he later moved to New York and played and recorded acoustic and electric bass for some of the biggest talents in jazz, including David Sanborn, Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Wynton Marsalis, who is called the most influential jazz musician of his generation.

While you can hear Genus every week playing in the Saturday Night Live band, his double bass contributions to Dave Douglas' Meaning and Mystery and Bob James' Urban Flamingo shows why Genus is among the most in-demand jazz bass players in the world.

He has played with Out of the Blue (1988-89), Horace Silver (1989), Roy Haynes and Don Pullen (1989-91), Nat Adderley (1990), Greg Osby and New York Voices (1990-91), Jon Faddis (1991), T.S. Monk (1991), Benny Golson (1991), Dave Kikoski (1991), Bob Berg (1991-96), Geoff Keeze (1992), Lee Konitz (1992), Michael Brecker (1992-96), Bob James (since 1994), Michel Camilo (since 1995), Elysian Fields (since 1995), Branford Marsalis (1996), Chick Corea (1996), Dave Douglas (1996), Uri Caine (1997), Global Theory (1997), Bill Evans (saxophonist) (2005) and Herbie Hancock (2008).


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