James began his music career in his home town in Wigan where he became a member of the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO) under the Director Ian Darrington. He was also a member of Wigan Youth Brass Band and Wigan Youth Orchestra. WYJO, and the Wigan International Jazz Festival, gave James the opportunity to work with many guest soloists such as Georgie Fame, Dennis Rollins, James Morrison, Alan Barnes, Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, Steve Waterman and many more. In 2010, James was accepted into Chetham’s School of Music where he studied for three years with Les Storey and Rob Burtenshaw, achieving his DipABRSM and LRSM. Whilst at Chetham’s he played in the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, Big Band and Brass Band.
James then took a place at the Royal College of Music, supported by the ABRSM, studying with Dave Stewart, Byron Fulcher and Lindsay Shilling. While studying there he has had the opportunity to play some great orchestral works with truly inspiring conductors at leading concert venues. This includes Mahler’s 7 Symphony with RCM Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Jac Van Steen. He also plays in the RCM Philamonic Orchestra, as well as RCM’s Big Band, Film Orchestra, and other smaller ensemble groups.
Since moving to London in 2013, James leaped at the chance to be involved with NYJO, first as deputy, then holding the chair from 2016-2019. He has also had the opportunity to play with other great bands such as the London Jazz Orchestra.