James "Saxsmo" Gates Jazz Artist ~ Performer ~ Educator

SaxmoPhoto Credit – Karl Giles


James “Saxsmo” Gates
Benita Johnson, Booking Agent
P.O. Box 26405
Richmond, VA 23260



Solo Concert: $2500
Solo Performance with Lecture:  $2800
Ensemble Concert: $4650
Ensemble Concert with Lecture:  $4950


Throughout the year


Adequate electrical outlets and lighting. Contact the artist for more details.


Performances are open to all ages and can be tailored for specific audiences, as needed.


James “Saxsmo” Gates is one of Richmond’s premier musicians.  As a saxophonist, Saxsmo has a flaming passion that is evident in every note played.  Undeniable passion along with his bell-like tone quality ignites a fire that is sure to light the hearts and souls of all true jazz enthusiasts.

Gates has played and traveled extensively in the United States and abroad performing with notable artists such as Joe Kennedy, Jr., Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Walter Davis, Jr., Walter Bishop, Jr., The Temptations, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Cobb, Hod O’Brien, Larry Willis, Roberta Flack, Marvin Gaye, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Alex Bugnon, Terrance Blanchard, Delfeayo Marsalis, and The Main Ingredients.

Currently, James Gates is the Director of the Dr.  Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program at Virginia State University.

This fall, James “Saxsmo” Gates will be release his fourth album project titled “Together We Can Make It”.  The inspiration behind the project title is related to the tough political climate that we have faced over the last few years.  Gates wants to extend a message that we are all a part of the human race.  Together, even facing seemingly unsurmountable odds, we are stronger and can build stronger communities and a nation.  The visual behind the project features mature adults and the youth…a bridge necessary to strengthen for the security of the future. 

Educational Programs

  • The Path to Becoming a Grammy-nominated Musician: an autobiographical sketch of James “Saxsmo” Gates of how his personal quests for greatness helped him overcome obstacles and navigate the entertainment industry.
  • “Together We Can Make It”:  How Music Connects the World: an exploration of the history of music and how it is the bridge that connects cultures and people.
  • Jazz Studies: a discussion of America’s native music that features some of the forefathers of jazz and its emergence as a genre.
  • American Music: Celebrating jazz as the cornerstone of music in the United States.
Additional Information