Jim's unique keyboard style has evolved over many years of playing in gospel meetings, weddings and special events throughout the United States. His gentle, upbeat hymns and praise songs are just as delightful as his improvised on-the-spot light jazz. Jim traveled with a revival team for several years, providing background music during the meetings, developing a soothing style that has become the basis for his signature sound. Jim had an opportunity to play at the Meijer Gardens Holiday Event early in his career, the place he feels he really got his start, professionally. After moving to California, he began playing for hire at as many events as possible, including the annual Veterans Day event at the new Gallo Arts Center, and for the Ronald Reagan BBQ. Also trying his hand as a DJ, he became a versatile sound technician as well, enabling him to craft his own recordings with skill.
Jim's first recording "Quite Meditations" which came out on cassette in 1990 was received in a variety of settings most notably by ill or recently bereaved listeners who found comfort in this quiet healing collection of praise and worship songs. The next recording, "Reflections" was pure improvisation, a seamless stream of music on each side, lasting a total of one hour. Jim literally made this recording in less than two hours. It too became a soothing balm for many. The new CD version of "Reflections" was done in a similar format, but with individual songs, with Jim sitting at the piano and again, improvisational music pouring out!
The first professionally produced recording, "Coming Home" is a tribute to the time we all look forward to: work is over, and you are on your way home to those you love. It also had meaning for Jim in that it symbolized a coming home finally to who he really was musically. This was a breaking out of a tighter mold, and loosening up to have some fun and be himself, as we all do when we come home! "Coming Home" was an orchestral experiment, a conglomeration of keyboard synthesizer and live drummer, Kevin Pallotta, along with Jim's tripping little jazz melodies and rhythms. The song titled "Starlight Starbright" has been requested by numerous brides as a processional for their wedding. Also included is a thoughtful original piece with lyrics written by Amy Maris, Jim's wife, entitled "Your Smile", which was inspired by the tragic death of Laci Peterson and sung by rising singer-songwriter Roem Baur.
After numerous requests to publish a work of traditional hymns, finally "Come To My House" answered this call. The artwork on the cover was graciously provided by Jack Kirchert, who gave Jim the picture many years ago when the project was conceived. If you take a trip to the beautiful Yosemite Valley, you can still see that lovely chapel that is pictured on the front cover. The final song, "Coming To My House" exemplifies a pinnacle in Jim's melody writing. It's lyrics, not included in the recording are a welcome to all to settle in and be at home in the house of God, as both a spiritual and a physical place.