Jim Mair is currently a Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Studies at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He also serves as the Artistic Director for The Kansas City Jazz Alliance, The Kansas City High School All Star Jazz Ensemble and The Kansas City Jazz Quintet and is the producer of The Kansas City Jazz Summit. From 2003 -2010 he served as the Artistic Director and conductor for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, a performance organization that he and his wife Mary founded.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mr. Mair graduated from the University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music with a Master of Arts degree. He has served on the faculty at the College of Southern Idaho, the International Music Camp and the Charlie Parker Academy of the Arts. In 1998, Jim served as a Jazz Artist in Residence at the University of Arizona. Jim has conducted All-State Jazz Ensembles in North Dakota, South Dakota (twice) and Idaho and has appeared as a guest conductor and soloist with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra. In addition, he has on multiple occasions conducted the Kansas City All District Jazz Ensemble.
He has served as a staff writer for the SAXOPHONE JOURNAL and was the host of “Table Down Front” a jazz radio show that aired across the northwestern United States on NPR. For the past 19 years Jim has been an artist/clinician for the Selmer Musical Instrument Company. He currently serves as the state Jazz Education specialist for the Kansas Music Educators Association and is on the Advisory Board for the Metheny Family Foundation, the Ahmad Alaadeen Foundation and Kansas City Youth Jazz.
As a saxophonist, bandleader and educator his groups have performed in New York City at Birdland, Showman’s Café, Carnegie Hall and the JVC Jazz Festival. Additional appearances and invitations include Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland the Hawaii Jazz Festival and the Morocco Jazz Festival.
Mr. Mair has released six compact discs, which have garnered critical acclaim earning him enthusiastic reviews in DOWN BEAT, JAZZ TIMES, CODA and JAM magazines. In 1986 Jim was profiled in Down Beat magazine’s Audition section as a young musician deserving wider recognition. He was voted Best Saxophonist by the readers of JAM and has three times been profiled on the cover of JAM. In June 2000, Jim was featured as the cover story for the SAXOPHONE JOURNAL and he appeared on the April 2004 issue of Kansas City’s ART magazine. His biography appears in the Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians compiled by Louis Porter.
Jim is a two time Fellowship recipient to the Aspen Music Festival. In 1995, the University of Mary selected Jim as Alumnus of the Year. In 1997, he was a nomination recipient for The Idaho Governor’s Award. In 1998, Jim and his wife Mary were named Persons of the Year by the Twin Falls, Idaho Chamber of Commerce. Jim was inducted into multiple editions of Who’s Who of American teachers.
Some of Jim’s past teachers include Scott Prebys, Loran Eckroth, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Foster, Dave Holland, Pat Labarbera, Muhal Richard Abrams and Abraham Adzinyah.
He has performed with Jay McShann, Carmell Jones, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Rob McConnell, Claire Fischer, Bobby Watson, Steve Wilson, Bill Evans (sax), Shirley Horn, Don Thompson, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Kevin Eubanks, Dave Matthews, Julian Priester, Dave Holland, Allen Vizzutti, Tom “Bones” Malone, Bill Doggett, Houston Person, Ernie Andrews, Bob Mintzer, Byron Stripling, Fareed Haque and Victor Wooten.
Jim and his wife Mary have two children, Amanda and Jameson.