Otis Mourning began his musical career at the age of nine when he received a clarinet as a gift. He shortly thereafter became a full time member of The Original Sacramento Jazzin’ Junior Jumpin’ Jazz Band and later on continued to cut his teeth in the traditional jazz genre with the California Express. Around age twenty, he put in some time with the River City Stomperz before helping form the Wooden Nickel Jass Band in 1982. For the next ten years, Otis played with a lot of different groups and musicians, but the Wooden Nickel and the legendary Sacramento R&B band, the Beer Dawgs, (with whom he played saxes, accordion, rub board, percussion, and sang), would be his mainstay projects.
He’s also worked with the Rythym Coalition, Mumbo Gumbo, Myron Floren, Jo Anne Castle, Dianne Schuur, and the Black Dogs, among others. He’s been a “Proffessor” at the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Camp on multiple occasions and toured internationally with the 10th Avenue Band for three years. Otis has performed at jazz festivals all over the world, including the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Guiness Jazz Festival and has been on over forty recordings with the likes of Shelley Burns and Avalon Swing and the Blue Street Jazz Band, among others.
Otis currently plays regularly with Sister Swing, the Cat’s ‘n Jammers, Brady McKay and the Neurotypicals, the Doug Pauly Quartet, the Whippersnappers, the Chopped Liver Orchestra, and his own band, the Colorblind Greens Band.He is highly regarded as one of the finest clarinetists in the country, and is also a much sought after saxophonist by too many groups to mention. He’s known for his versatile ability to play just about any genre.