Composing is integral to James identity as a musician and he’s been doing it almost as long as he has been playing music. He has written widely for ensembles, from soloists to symphony orchestra, and has a special interest in writing and arranging for Big Band and other large jazz-based ensembles. His musical studies include years at The Royal Academy of Music, Cambridge University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and he has worked with Robin Holloway and John Cooney, amongst others.
James now writes for a wide array of groups, combining his backgrounds in jazz and contemporary classical music with a love of Latin American, African and other musical traditions from around the world. His arrangements, including for Britten Sinfonia Academy, have been performed at the Barbican Centre Free Stage, London, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge and the Theatre Royal, Norwich, and his big band works have been played by artists including Liane Carroll, Laurence Cottle and The Big Jazz Band.
As an active professional trumpeter, James specialises in improvisation and he devotes a lot of effort to making his playing communicative and expressive. He also likes to cross genres and musical boundaries to stretch himself and is equally at home playing jazz, classical, funk and Latin music. As well as playing in the UK, James has performed in China, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and France and his performances have been broadcast on Chinese state television and Hungarian Radio.
Musical education also forms an important part of his interests and goals. Through his teaching and ensemble leading he has learned a great deal about helping others to enjoy and make music.