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James was born on June 9th, and is enjoying his forty-something days. He has 2 sons, Jackson and newborn Hayden, with wife Sophie. James is fond of dogs, and has a golden labrador named Otis (after Mr. Redding) which he adopted soon after his marriage.

He studied at the USC School of Music and with Leon Fleischer and Reginald Stewart at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West.

He developed a strong affinity for the string orchestra. However, despite his love for the classical repertoire, James was inevitably drawn to pop music. In the early 70's a stint with an L.A. based band, "Mama Lion" was followed by 2 solo albums - JNH (1974) and James Newton Howard and friends in 1984. The latter was "commissioned by Yamaha to demo its new synths", and it sounds like an 80's Toto/pop hybrid.
During the mid 70's he became associated with the record producer Richard Perry, who employed James' talents as a session pianist, sythesist and programmer for albums by artists Carly Simon, Leo Sayer, Diana Ross, Nilsson and Ringo Starr.

During 1974 and 1975, while working for Melissa Manchester, James was contacted by Elton John, who was then reconstituting his recording and touring bands. James signed on for the 1975 album Rock of the Westies and remained as Elton's keyboardist from 1975-76 and 1980-81 through the album Blue Moves.

He rejoined Elton once again in 1986 as the conductor/orchestrator for the tour that resulted in the recording Live in Australia. It was during one of his absences from Elton's band that James made his debut as producer with recordings by Valerie Carter and Cher.

He has subsequently co-written and/or produced for such artists as Randy Newman, Rickie Lee Jones, Chaka Khan, Jude Cole and the Brothers Johnson; he's arranged music for Earth, Wind and Fire, Barbara Streisand, Dwight Twilly and Bob Seger.

James wrote his first solo film score, Head Office in 1985. Demand for his scores was instantaneous. Subsequent scores have included Guilty By Suspicion, Five Corners, Three Men and a Little Lady, Nobody's Fool, Flatliners, King Ralph, Falling Down, Major League, Alive, Promised Land, Tap, Some Girls, Everybody's All American and many others.

His score for the TV pilot, Men, won an Emmy Award and his 1990 Dying Young score won a Grammy nomination. His score for The Prince of Tides received an Academy Award nomination in 1991, and so did The Fugitive, and the song Look What Love Has Done from his score for Junior. That unmistakable E.R. TV theme was awarded an Emmy nomination in 1994. Recently, his contribution to the song For The First Time from One Fine Day was Oscar nominated.

Jamming Notes


James, and former producer Michael Mason (right).


Used in trailer/promo for...
The Fugitive The Pelican Brief, Broken Arrow, Copycat, Fair Game, Leon (The Professional), Outbreak, The Specialist, 'NBC - Dateline/Bank shootout segment', Mulholland Falls
Dave North, Richie Rich
Waterworld The Crucible, Metro, Titanic, Six Days, Seven Nights, A Bug's Life, 'CNBC Asia - Promo', Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, The Prince Of Egypt CD-ROM
Alive The Joy Luck Club, Sense & Sensibility
Wyatt Earp Nell, Stars Fell On Henrietta
Primal Fear The Relic
The Prince Of Tides Sleepless In Seattle, '1998 Emmy Awards'
Grand Canyon 'Toyota 1996 TV campaign'
Outbreak The Jackal, A Perfect Murder
Dying Young Jack The Bear
Falling Down Mad City
The Postman Lost In Space, A Civil Action, Star Trek: Insurrection


General introductory and past information available at home page.

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