Born: March 15, 1916 in Albany, Ga.
Died: July 5, 1983
Harry James was a trumpeter, band leader, and composer who began his musical career playing with the Haag Circus. His mother was an acrobat and horseback rider, and his father was the circus band leader.
The Haag Circus wintered in Beaumont, which influenced the decision of his family to settle there when he was fifteen.
He was nicknamed "The Hawk" early in his career for his ability to sight-read. A common joke was that if a fly landed on his written music, Harry James would play it.
After playing with the bands of Joe Gale, Ben Pollack, and Benny Goodman, James started his own band in 1939. Harry James’s band was the first “name band” to employ Frank Sinatra as a vocalist.
Swing rendition recordings include "Texas Chatter” and "The Flight of the Bumble Bee." Play-It-sweet records include "You Made Me Love You," "You'll Never Know," and "September in the Rain."
James released over twenty records and continued to perform until his death in 1983.