For over 30 years Jim Guttmann has performed in a wide range of venues from smokey dives to Carnegie Hall. He joined the Klezmer Conservatory Band at its inception and as a member of the band has toured nationally and internationally, performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman and Joel Grey, performed on all the band’s recordings and aided in the production of the last five. . In addition to working with KCB he has recorded and performed klezmer music with Andy Statman, Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express, Art Bailey’s Orkestra Popilar and with Michael Winograd and Pete Sokolow’s Tarras Band, a tribute to the great klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras.
Jim is a founding member of the Really Eclectic String Quartet and has worked with renowned entertainers and musicians, including Eartha Kitt, Mark Murphy, Johnny Shines, James Cotton, Matt Glaser, Russ Barenberg and the Artie Shaw Band. In 1986 he organized and served as the musical director and bassist for the Tufts University Jazz Festival’s Soul to Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin. He was a member of the 2004 Grammy Award winning ensemble that recorded Yehudi Wyner’s “The Mirror”. In 2010 he released Bessarabian Breakdown, his first CD as a leader.
As a music educator Jim has taught performance on string bass and bass guitar and coached klezmer, rock and ethnic music ensembles privately and at several music and independent schools in the Boston area. He has taught individuals and coached klezmer music ensembles at Klez Kamp for the past 20 years.
Jim has studied performance with Edwin Barker and Dave Holland, harmony with Richard Cornell and techniques for improvisation with Charlie Banacos. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant to study the arco solo tradition in jazz bass playing. He currently serves as Managing Director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and the President of the Klezmer Conservatory Foundation.