James died Friday night at Mercy Hospital after struggling with complications from asthma. That's according to his longtime girlfriend, Danita Lyburn.
James was originally from Pittsburgh and played with jazz greats including Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Sonny Stitt, Don Patterson, Pat Martino, Robert "Bootsie" Barnes, Eddie Harris, Houston Person and Etta Jones, The Groove ORGANization featuring Gene Ludwig, and many others.
He was a long-time mainstay at Philadelphia jazz clubs, including Ortlieb's Jazzhaus and Chris' Jazz Cafe.
Funeral arrangements have not been set.