JAmes Shipp is a vibraphonist, a percussionist, a synthesist, and a songwriter. For the last decade-and-a-half he has performed, recorded, toured the world with some of New York City's best musicians. Trained as a jazz vibraphone soloist and accompanist, James's post-conservatory interests have led him to become a sought-after Brazilian percussionist, a multi-instrumentalist in bands both experimental and tightly arranged, a composer of music for experimental theater, and a versatile and holistic producer of studio music, bringing to bear his knowledge of both acoustic and analog electronic instruments on a range of projects.
James currently tours with the Anat Cohen Tentet, Jean Rohe and the End of the World Show, Banda Magda, the Nadje Noordhuis Quintet, and Christina Courtin (Pilot Violet). He has recorded and performed with Paquito d’Rivera, Kurt Elling, Snarky Puppy, Bokante, Kate McGarry, Becca Stevens, Bob Lanzetti, Jane Ira Bloom, and Sting.
As a leader, James has been performing his mostly satirical songs solo and with his band since 2016, and will be releasing an EP later this year; as a songwriter he is represented by TRO-Palm Valley Music. He is a member of the MakeSpeak Ensemble, a collaborative trio that composes and performs music for dance and theater. (They premiered the music for Jephta's Daughter at the Munich State Opera in 2015, and will compose a new work for the Berlin Opera in the fall.) He has performed as a duo with trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis since 2012. Last year, they released their first album, Indigo, to rapt audiences at the Wangeratta International Jazz Festival in Victoria, Australia. James’ band Nós Novo took an improvisor’s ear to traditional Irish repertoire and released Strange Sweethearts in America to critical acclaim in 2009.
James has been a bandleader, composer, producer, and workshop facilitator for Carnegie Hall’s social impact programs for the last decade, working with thousands of people of all ages in prisons, jails, hospitals, shelters, and schools throughout New York City. Two of the lullabies he co-wrote through that work were featured on the 2018 Universal Music Group release Hopes and Dreams, sung by mezzo-soprano Joyce Di Donato and soprano Pretty Yende. He currently co-directs Carnegie Hall’s Future Music Project Ensemble, and was recently the creative director of the music program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. James was a faculty artist at the Silk Road Ensemble's 2016 Global Musician Workshop, where he taught Brazilian, Irish, and Finnish tunes to students from all over the world.
JAmes earned both a Bachelor's and Master's of Music from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of music. He currently lives in Brooklyn, and is very happy there.
as a sideman
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