James “lil jimmy” Touzel is a freelance bassist, guitarist, clarinetist, songwriter, and vocalist living in San Francisco, California. For the past 15 years, he has been a mainstay in the Bay Area’s traditional American music scene, specializing in traditional bluegrass, country, western swing, traditional jazz, and rockabilly. In addition to numerous music and film recordings on the upright bass fiddle, electric bass guitar, and clarinet, “lil jimmy” has toured coast-to-coast at home in the US, as well as performances in Canada, Holland, France, Belgium, Costa Rica, and Russia. He has performed live on stage with groups of note, such as the Earl Brothers, the Stylistics, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Danielle Howle, Evanescence, Lindsey Sterling, the Brothers Comatose, Jackie Gore, and the Tams.
In addition to his love for traditional American music, Mr. Touzel has a passion for performing classical music on the clarinet. Before moving to the Bay Area, he held Bass Clarinet chair in the Symphony Orchestra Augusta (GA) and the 2nd/Eb Clarinet position in the Long Bay (Myrtle Beach, SC) Symphony. Additionally, he played with the Wilmington (NC) Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. James has performed under the batons of many of the worlds leading conductors such as David Zinman, James Dupriest, Julius Rudel, Michael Stern, and Damon Gupton. He attended the Aspen Music Festival where he studied with Bass Clarinet legend Dennis Smylie.
Originally from Georgetown, South Carolina, James earned his Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of South Carolina where he studied clarinet with Doug Graham, jazz bass with Jim Mings, and jazz with Bert Ligon. Past clarinet studies also include: Carey Bell, Jerome Simas, Ted Gurch, Mark Brandon, and Gloria Campione. Past bass teachers have included Ken Miller, Djordje Stijepovic, Craig Butterfield, and Reggie Sullivan.
Never one to forget the glory of being a teenage child and learning how to play the electric bass in the 90’s, Jimmy still loves to turn it up loud and rock it hard, should the circumstances call for it.
James also enjoys college sports, tea, noodle soup, biking, surfing, geography, snakes, history and most of all, he enjoys spending time with his cats Wilmo and Wilmie.