Holden, James, Jr.
Director of Bands / Assistant Professor of Music
James Holden, Jr. is a native of Jackson, Mississippi attended Brinkley and Murrah High School. He began his study of the saxophone at the age of fifteen (15) under the tutelage of Joseph Jennings. He later studied with John P. Jones and Harold J. Haughton at Jackson State University, while completing the B.M.E. and M.M.E. degree. He has done additional study at Berklee School of Music and the University of North Texas where he was a pupil of Joseph Viola and Dennis Diamond.
A former faculty member at Jackson State University, he is currently an Assistant Professor of Saxophone, Music Theory, Jazz Ensemble, Gospel Chorale and Director of Bands at Virginia State University. In addition, he also works with the saxophone choir, jazz ensemble, saxophone quartet and the Virginia State University Concert and Marching Band as the chief arranger.
In the fall of 1992, Mr. James Holden, Jr. took on the responsibilities as director and faculty advisor for the VSU Gospel Chorale. The chorale toured in 1995 the U.S. Virgin Islands, ministering at many schools, churches, and retirement homes for thirteen (13) days. From December 1997 to January 1998 the chorale traveled Northern and Southern Italy from Rome to Sicily, performing with B.B. King and the following year with Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Vatican for the Pope John Paul’s II Christmas Concert. The ensemble has also traveled to Paris France, Budapest Hungary, and various parts of Italy to perform with Michael Bolton and Solomon Burke for the Pope Benedict XVI Christmas Concert performing gospel jazz.
Mr. Holden convention and solo appearances include the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, Indiana University Saxophone Master Class, James Madison University and University of North Carolina in Greensboro Saxophone Symposium and the Intercollegiate Music Association. He has conducted the HBCU/ IAJE All-Star Jazz Ensemble, HBCU Band Directors Consortium and Intercollegiate Music Association Jazz Ensemble, and the All-Star Jazz Ensemble at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival.
Mr. Holden newly formed group “The G Sharp Saxophone Quartet” is an outstanding group that perform music from Bach to Rock. They have traveled and performed for high schools, universities and various music conferences in the state of Georgia, Virginia, Carolina and Mississippi.
He is a studio musician and has performed with many jazz and commercial bands both locally and nationally.