"Big James" Montgomery got his first taste of the blues when as a young teenager he would stand outside of a club on the southside of Chicago and listen to B.B. "Big Voice" Odum sing with Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues. Eventually, he was allowed to sit in with the band and as the old saying goes, "The rest was history."At nineteen years old he joined the legendary "Little Milton Band". After playing with Milton for two years, he joined Albert King's Blues Band.After playing with Albert, he returned to the local scene in Chicago and began to play with many blues bands in the area too numerous to mention.
But, it was his association with the late Johnny Christian that really changed things for him. "Big James" says, "Little Milton gave me my start, but Johnny really turned me loose. He was such a great singer and a major influence on me that I will always be grateful to him.
In 1996, along with fellow sidekick, Charlie Kimble on saxophone "Big James" joined the Buddy Guy's Blues Band. They performed all over the world with the master bluesman, with the highlight being the "House of Blues Barnburner Tour" and a performance on the "Tonight Show" featuring Jay Leno. Also in 1996, The Chicago Playboys rocked the main stage of the Chicago Blues Festival featuring the dazzling Nellie Travis and Phil Guy. Big James has also shared a stage with such performers as; Eric Clapton, George Clinton, & Parliament Funkadelic, Public Announcement, Dan Ackroyd, Larry Coryell & Lou Rawls.
Now lead by "Big James" on trombone and lead vocals, The Chicago Playboys are performing at many of the well known blues clubs in the Chicago area such as: The House of Blues, Buddy Guy's Legends, Famous Dave's in Chicago-Minneapolis & Champagne, Koko Taylors, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted, Chord on Blues in St. Charles, The Slice of Chicago in Palatine, Porter's Oyster Bar in Crystal Lake and The Up & Under Club in Milwaukee,WI. The horn section has alson been active in the recording studio having recorded several albums with Johnny Christian, Lee "Shot" Williams, John Primer, L.V. Banks, Vance Kelly and on Chico Banks first solo project entitled "Candy Lickin' Man", on Evidence records. "Big James" is featured on lead vocals and trombone on a sizzling arrangement of Magic Sam's "All of Your Love."
"Big James" has recorded 2 solo projects on the independent Jamot Music Label. The first entitled "Funkin' Blues" received rave reviews from musicians, critics and the general public from all around the globe. The newest release entitled "If It Wasn't 4 Da Blues" is proving to follow suit! Be on the lookout for this young and exciting bluesman.