Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, James recalls hearing gospel around the house along with plenty of jazz. "My Dad was a saxophonist so I heard a lot of records featuring saxophonists. Early on I knew of Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Lockjaw Davis and John Coltrane." He started piano lessons when he was seven and played clarinet, yet it was on organ that he had his first gigs in his father's group starting when he was 14."He gave me a crash course in playing changes pop music and r&b of the time, along with standards and jazz organ grooves. Ohio did not have great a jazz scene at the time, but organ bars were popular." It was not until attending Youngstown University that he became serious about becoming a jazz musician. He was a member of his college's jazz band, and attended workshops given by the likes of Thad Jones, Max Roach and Bill Watrous. Two years after graduating college, he moved to New York to be at the center of jazz.
In addition to recording Three Worlds, Weidman has been teaching at William Paterson University, arranging a set of slave songs for the UMO Jazz Orchestra in Helsinki, Finland, for a project called "The Black Spirituals." He also leads his own trio and duo in the New York area and appears in a countless number of musical situations, often as a leader. He also toured Russia, giving him a chance to perform with Russian jazz musicians.
"The music is so vast that I have a lot of different projects that I would like to get involved in, including arranging my music for a big band. I remember hearing early on that in New York musicians tend to get typecast. Well, even at that point, I had a lot of different interests. Many musicians specialize in one particular area but I have purposely put myself in quite a few different situations, sometimes during the same period. I have no doubt that there will be all kinds of unexpected projects in the future.