Jim’s Bio

Jim Grantham playing tenor sax

San Francisco Bay Area saxophonist Jim Grantham leads many Nightbird bands and jazz ensembles.

Jim Grantham is a professional saxophonist and jazz educator living and working in Oakland, CA. His wide experience of forty years includes concerts, recordings, shows, and ongoing freelance work with many of the major bands and contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nightbird Music is his own company that contracts music for all occasions.

His jazz playing includes performances with Bobby McFerrin, George Cables, Eddie Moore, Mark Isham, Ed Kelly, Gaylord Birch, Calvin Keys, Noel Jewkes, Cal Lewiston, Vince Wallace, Paul Nagel, Art Hirahara, and Frank Tusa, among many others. He has recorded with Jessica Williams and Eddie Henderson. He has a CD out called Conversations.

He studied music at the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a graduate, Cum Summa Laude, of Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Jim has been teaching music theory and improvisation for over thirty-five years. He taught harmony, arranging, ear training and ensembles at Berklee College of Music; big band and jazz harmony at San Francisco State; and was director of Jazz Studies at Cal State at Hayward.

He started a series of organized workshops and lessons in jazz theory and improvisation in 1977 at the Keystone Korner (noted jazz club in San Francisco—now defunct) that continue to the present time. He was on the Board of Directors for Bay Area Loft Jazz and The San Francisco Jazz Society.

Out of these experiences evolved a unique, comprehensive, and very practical method of learning and mastering the many musical skills involved in improvisation. This approach has gone through several phases to become what is now published as the Jazzmaster Workout.

He started the Jam List (a computer listing of networking musicians) in 1991. He is dedicated to promoting and preserving live improvisational music through performance and instruction.