James Jabbo Ware began his professional career as a versatile saxophonist/composer/ arranger in 1962 with the Black Artist Group of St. Louis (whose members included Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiett Bluiett). He went on to serve in a wide range of ensembles led by legendary figures including Dollar Brand, Albert King, Sam Rivers, Charles Mingus and Archie Shepp, with the latter including him on two of his most respected Impulse! recordings, Attica Blues
and Cry of My People
. Encouraged by Bluiett, Ware moved to New York in 1970 where he studied improvisation and composition with George Coleman and joined Rivers' big band, the Collective Black Artists (CBA) Band, and Frank Foster and the Loud Minority among other groups.
In 1973, he realized his dream of leading his own large ensemble when he formed The Me We & Them Orchestra, which he has continued to lead since in addition to his countless collaborations with other musicians. Ware is also the Founder/Artistic Director of Y'All of New York, Inc., a 15 year- old 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to advancing jazz traditions through the production of performances, recordings and educational programs throughout the greater New York City community and beyond.