Willamette Week dubbed Sweet Baby James, "a human landmark of Portland jazz" for a reason.  Not only has James performed at a high level for nearly six decades, but along the way he's mentored and influenced young musicians from northwest drum legend Mel Brown to Esperanza Spalding, 2011 Grammy Award Winner for "Best New Artist."

In recent years, James' long and deep contribution to the Portland community has been recognized as James has received a string of honors and awards.  Most notably, on February 4, 2011, Mayor Sam Adams singled out James and his fellow Williams Avenue scene veteran Bobby Bradford for special mention in his proclamation of that date as "History Hope & Harmony Day." 

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Esperanza Spalding looked on as Sweet Baby James received the mayor's proclamation


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The teenaged Esperanza with her then-mentor, Sweet Baby James

 

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Certificate of Recognition awarded to Sweet Baby James from Portland State University

 

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Lifetime achievement award given to Sweet Baby James by Columbia County