Cellist James Todd was born into a musical family in Denver, CO. His great-grandfather was a cellist and his grandfather a violinist and conductor. At the age of five, he played mandolin in a group led by his siblings. He began piano lessons in the second grade and switched to cello in the fourth grade. In high school, he was a member of Denver's All-City Orchestra every year. He began college at the University of Denver, but transferred after a year to Metropolitan State College of Denver. While studying business education there, he was the principal cellist in the orchestra and the chamber ensemble. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. degree in business, but went on to a career in music that found him playing with the Denver Symphony and many visiting musicians.
Todd became principal cellist with the Arapahoe Philharmonic in Denver. In addition to his classical work, he also backed a wide range of touring pop performers when they stopped in Denver, among them Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Brian Wilson, Yanni, Stevie Wonder, Linda Ronstadt, and Smokey Robinson. He was also part of the backup group for singer/songwriter Celeste Krenz in concert and on record, and appeared on three albums by new age group Music for Candles.
Todd's debut solo album, Quiet Beauty, features his own compositions. Backed by pianist William Morse, he overdubs two or three cello parts, turning the cello into a lead instrument. The album was released in 2005 on Todd's own Celloman Records label.