James Russell Freeman (born February 11, 1960 in Galveston, Texas) is a smooth jazz artist of multiple genres, composer and bandleader. He studied for a time at UCLA, but remained somewhat obscure before leading the studio-formed Fusion band The Rippingtons in 1986. Freeman and his manager, Andi Howard, also formed Peak Records together in 1994. A producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Freeman also plays bass, keyboards and drums. His music can be heard during The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" segments and his song "Brave New World" is included in their 2008 compilation release, The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.