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James Morrison with flugelhorn
, 1994

by Kerrie Lester

oil and hand-stitching on canvas (frame: 205 cm x 245.5 cm)

James Morrison AM (b. 1962), jazz musician, composer and virtuoso performer, started to play the cornet at the age of seven and was sixteen when he made his international debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He went on to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and there met Don Burrows, who became his mentor. In the early 1980s, having joined the Conservatorium’s teaching staff, he and his brother John formed the Morrison Brothers Big Band, which continues to tour. Morrison’s range includes all wind instruments, as well as piano and vocals, and his career has included performances alongside a diverse range of international acts, among them Ray Charles, BB King, Wynton Marsalis, the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic, INXS, Dave Brubeck and Whitney Houston. More recently, he has become involved in instrument design, had a stint as a host of Top Gear Australia, and in 2012 he was the Artistic Director of the Queensland Festival. Like Burrows, Morrison has made a significant contribution to music education, and in 2014 established the James Morrison Academy of Music of the University of South Australia, where he is an adjunct professor.

Kerrie Lester entered this portrait of James Morrison in the 1994 Archibald Prize.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
Courtesy the Corrigan family and Stuart Purves
Accession number: 1999.2