Jim Payne began his musical career in the late '50's when, as a teenager in Connecticut he traded in his hated accordion for a set of drums. That very day he had his first rehearsal with a local doo wop group the Deltrons, Jim has been in the music business ever since.
During his college days at Yale, Jim was busy performing with several R&B units, including Prince La La & the Midnight Creepers and the Five Satins. He spent summers in Florida working with a local group backing up artists such as Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Eddie Floyd and Spyder Turner.
He then received his MBA at Columbia Business School, settled in the Big Apple and began serious music studies with classes at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music and lessons with Sonny Igoe, Henry Adler and Philly Joe Jones. He toured, performed, and/or recorded in a wide range of musical camps including the Blues Magoos, Link Wray, Esther Phillips, Esther Satterfield, the Birdsong Band (which featured the Brecker Brothers), Dave Liebman and the San Francisco Inspiration Choir. During this period he also served as musical director for Motown songstress Mary Wells.
Several encouraging visits with R&B legends Steve Cropper, Al Jackson and Albert King at the world famous Stax studios in Memphis inspired Jim to expand his goals and begin writing and producing as well. "I was always interested in music that touched the heart and soul directly and immediately," he recalls, "the stuff that made the most direct hit."
In the early '80s he founded the avant funk group Slickaphonics with Ray Anderson. The group self-produced five albums for Enja and Teldec touring extensively in the United States and Europe.
In 1988, Jim moved to Florida and wrote and produced for King Snake Studios, working with artists such as Rufus Thomas, Razzy Bailey and Gregg Allman.
Two major productions he completed in Florida were the JB Horns' Pee Wee, Fred and Maceo (Gramavision) and Mike Clark and Paul Jackson's The Funk Stops Here (enja/Tiptoe). Continuing along the producing path, Payne returned to New York. He then produced and frequently performed on albums for Enja Records, TDK/Core Japan, Tokuma Japan and Gramavision.
He emerged as one of the more sophisticated producers on the soul, funk and jazz scenes, numbering among his credits production of albums by : Medeski, Martin & Wood It's a Jungle In Here , and Friday Afternoon in the Universe (Gramavision); JB Horns Funky Good Time, Live (Gramavision); Pee Wee Ellis' Blues Mission (Gramavision); David Fiuczynski and John Medeski's Lunar Crush (Gramavision); Jim Payne's New York Funk Vol.1. (Gramavision); and Yvonne Jackson's I'm Trouble (Enja/Blues Beacon).
In the past years Jim has concentrated on playing, writing and touring with his own band, The Jim Payne Band, a funky organ trio, with Jerrry Z on organ and Bill Bickford on guitar. They have played several US tours and are a staple on the NYC club scene. Jim's first record, Sensei, reached #33 on the jazz charts. He is also very busy teaching in his NYC studio.