James Mtume (musician, aranger, writer -NOT the group Mtume)

~ Person

Legal name: James Forman


James Forman (born September 27, 1946), better known by his stage name James Mtume, is an American Grammy Award-winning R&B musician, songwriter and radio personality. He came to prominence working with Miles Davis between 1971 and 1975. Mtume's group, also called Mtume, is perhaps best known for the 1983 R&B hit song "Juicy Fruit", which has been much sampled. Mtume the band also had a top-five R&B hit with the single "You, Me, and He". He and Mtume band member, fellow musician Reggie Lucas both won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for writing and producing fellow R&B artist Stephanie Mills' top-ten hit "Never Knew Love Like This Before", for which she also won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Mtume, born and raised in South Philadelphia, is the son of jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and the father of Damu Mtume and Fa Mtume, both music producers. He was raised however by his stepfather, a Philadelphia local jazz pianist James "Hen Gates" Forman. Mtume grew up in a musical environment with famous jazz musicians frequenting his parents' house. He learned to play piano and percussion; however, from his teenage years he was pursuing a sportsman career as a swimmer, having achieved the title of the first black Middle Atlantic AAU champion in the backstroke, and in 1966 he entered Pasadena City College on a swimming scholarship. After his return from the West Coast he moved to New York to pursue musician's vocation and had his first gigs as a sideman for McCoy Tyner (Asante album), Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, whose group he wound up joining and playing in for the next few years. He has also worked as a session musician with Players Association, and has done on-air radio personality work at New York City's KISS 98.7 FM. His debut on a professional music scene was in a capacity of a composer when he contributed four out of five compositions on his uncle Albert "Tootie Kuumba" Heath's "Kawaida" jazz-album. As a songwriter, Mtume has written hits for various artists such as Phyllis Hyman, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Stephanie Mills, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Teddy Pendergrass, Inner City, as well as being lead songwriter for his own band Mtume.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Rebirth Cycle Mtume 1

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