James Shipp has been part of the New York City creative music scene since the beginning of this century. He plays a wide range of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments from around the world, keyboards and analog synthesizers, and sings when asked.
James currently appears regularly with singer/songwriter Jean Rohe in various projects, as well as with Anat Cohen's Tentet, Banda Magda, Max Pollak's Rumbatap, Christina Courtin's band, and various jazz ensembles large and small.
As a leader, James fronts Choro Dragão, (an experimental quintet that plays turn-of-the-century Brazilian music,) Nós Novo (a quartet that explores traditional Irish repertoire,) and collaborates in a duo with trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis and a trio which creates music for theater and dance with Haggai Cohen-Milo and Mateo Lugo. His first collection of original songs will be released in 2016.
James served on the faculty for the Silk Road Project's Global Musician Workshop 2016, teaching ensembles and masterclasses alongside greats like Maeve Gilchrist, Seamus Blake, Sandeep Das, Balla Kouyate, and Mike Block, under the creative directorship of Yo-Yo Ma.
James spent April to July of 2015 in Bavaria (along with Haggai Cohen Milo and Mateo Lugo) composing and rehearsing music for Jephtah's Daugher: an interdisciplinary work for the Munich Opera's summer festival blending opera, dance, theater, and live improvising musicians. The critically-acclaimed music from the production is soon to be recorded, and will be available online in 2016.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, James has played for and recorded with many of the world-class musicians that call NYC their home. Among them are: vocalists Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry, Peter Eldridge, Becca Stevens, Fleurine Mehldau, Magda Giannikou, and Sting, gospel-fusion superband Snarky Puppy, saxophonists Paquito d'Rivera, Jane Ira Bloom and Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ray Vega, percussionist Steve Kroon, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, guitarists Freddie Bryant and Joel Harrison, and arrangers Miho Hazama and Kyle Saulnier.
Since 2008 James has been an active bandleader and workshop facilitator in Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections program, through which he has given over 13 long-ranging workshops, produced 5 albums of collaboratively-written material, and staged over 20 concerts where top-call New York musicians accompanied court-affiliated youth, youth in HIV treatment programs, incarcerated adults, residents of homeless shelters et al. James is heading the composition and songwriting workshop at Sing Sing Correctional Facility for the 2015-2016 season.
James received bachelor's and master's degrees in Music from the Conservatory of Music of the State University of New York at Purchase in 2002 and 2003. He has taught privately since 2001, and gives workshops on percussion, rhythm, and songwriting all over the world.
Photographer: Christoph Biegel
Venue: Musig im Pflegidach, Muri, CH, 2015