Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Jimmy took up the saxophone at the age of ten. Shortly thereafter, he added the classical clarinet, studying with one of the best teachers around, Albert Calderone. He spent his high school years frequenting the Cleveland jazz clubs soaking up the influences of such greats as James Moody, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown. When he was old enough, his summers were spent on tour with Billy May, Hal McIntyre and Ralph Marterie. At Ohio State University, he was chosen solo clarinetist for their orchestra. Impatient with his progress at Ohio State, Jimmy took off for New York’s Julliard School of Music where he studied theory and composition with Hall Overton. While studying, he often sat in with Phil Wood’s group at the Pink Elephant. In the late fif ties, Jimmy and bassist Scotty La Faro began a trip to Los Angeles that included a stop in Las Vegas. It proved to be a turning point in Jimmy’s life —he stayed on in Vegas while Scotty went on to L.A.
Jimmy’s career blossomed in his new home. He worked with the Red Norvo Quintet; Carl Fontana’s group; a band that included Sweets Edison, Leroy Vinegar and Jackie Wilson; and with Georgie Auld. He also lent his talents to some very special recordings — “Louie Bellson ‘Live At The Thunderbird, ”Red Rodney’s “Super Bop,” albums by Sinatra, Streisand and Nat King Cole and, the one of which he’s most proud, a flute solo on Elvis Presley’s “American Trilogy.”