James King is best known as saxophonist and co-founder of multi-platinum band Fitz and the Tantrums.
His textural and rhythmic baritone sax playing has been at the core of the LA band’s sound since their inception in 2008, featuring prominently on their radio hits “Out of my League”, “Fool”, “HandClap” and 2013’s alternative smash “The Walker” which he co-wrote.
On stage, his role in the band as multi-instrumentalist encompasses alto and bari sax, flute, guitar, keyboards, percussion and background vocals.
In addition, King has distinguished himself as one of Los Angeles’ most versatile studio woodwind musicians, having recorded with Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Madlib, De La Soul, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Jimmy Cliff. He is also responsible for the iconic sax solo on M83’s platinum 2011 hit “Midnight City”. His most recent flute, alto, tenor, and bari sax work appears on new albums by Foster the People, Father John Misty, Brother Ali and Queens of the Stone Age.
As a sideman, his domestic and international live appearances have included work with Tony Bennett, Spoon, De La Soul, Ghostface Killah, Sara Bareilles, Harper Simon, and actor Jeff Goldblum’s straight ahead jazz quintet; with whom he still performs regularly. He has played flute and sax with many prominent Latin pop and salsa artists as well, including Adonis Puentes, Joe Bataan, Perico Hernandez and Domingosiete.
His composition credits include the soundtrack for the feature-length kids’ adventure “Nic and Tristan Go Mega-Dega”, and animated shorts including “The Prince and Mr. Whiskers”, currently in production for the Nickelodeon network. He has performed on numerous film and television soundtracks such as Spongebob Squarepants, Mr. Men, and The Hangover 2.
He arranged and produced the cover of the Allen/Bacharach classic “Arthur's Theme”, performed by Fitz and the Tantrums, which played over the closing credits of the 2011 ‘Arthur’ remake starring Russell Brand.
King attended Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, and subsequently earned his BFA in jazz performance at California Institute of the Arts (‘99), where he studied with Paul Novros, Vinny Golia, David Roitstein and Gary Joynes.
James King endorses reeds by D’Addario Woodwinds products, and Theo Wanne mouthpieces.