Jimmy James led a popular orchestra in the Midwest during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Based in Cincinnati, James leaned mostly towards the sweet side and had a long-running radio program on WLW. He also had a good ear for vocalists. Doris Day sang with the band during early 1940, and Betty Bonney was vocalist during early 1941. Both went on to become star chirps for Les Brown. Shirley Gaye, who also briefly sang for Brown, joined as vocalist in early 1942, staying until mid-year. Betty Benson sang in mid-1943.
James entered the army in late 1943, where he served as musical director for the Jeep Shows featuring Mickey Rooney and Bobby Brown. He returned to the States in late 1945 and organized a new band in early 1946 with an aim to compete on the national level. The orchestra recorded on the Enterprise label, with Gaye returning as vocalist. By that time, however, James’ style had become out-of-date, and the new orchestra failed to catch on. He eventually gave up in 1948 and returned to WLW as the station’s music conductor.