Bassists, I have noticed, seem obsessed with the idea of having a ‘sound’, like it’s a little, powerful daemon that follows each of them about. I think this might translate to an idea of Tone. James has a great ‘sound’. Full, rich, strong; Bit like the coffee he makes every time we invite ourselves round to his for brunch…

Rachel Sermanni

James Banner was born in Dudley, England and is now based in Berlin and the UK, working as an improvising musician and composer. Current projects include workshopping and recording unperformed solo pieces for double bass, researching and developing a digital publication on improvisational solo studies for bassists, a limited edition recycled tape and digital solo release, as well as TEXTS, commissioning 6 international authors to create new works for the duo of Stephanie Lamprea + James Banner plus guests from Berlin + NYC including Anna Webber, Liz Kosack and Michaël Attias. Ensemble projects as a leader include James Banner’s USINE, featured in portraits and broadcasts by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and RBB Kultur, and co-curating the monthly improvised music residency Practically Married with pianist Declan Forde at Berlin’s Donau115.

As a performer and collaborator he has worked on projects with artists and organisations such as Podium Esslingen/Quadrature (#bebeethoven), Max Andrzejewski: HÜTTE, Berliner Ensemble (Nibelungen) + Maxim Gorki Theatre (Salome), Leipziger Jazztage (Fish and Chips with Anna-Lena Schnabel, Floria Weber, James Maddren), Musikcentrum Öst Stockholm (Jazz Alloy with Lina Nyberg, Laura Jurd, Daniel Karlsson), Making Music/Sound and Music/PRSF/BBC (Adopt A Composer), Centrala Birmingham (Art and Brexit Talk), Vanguard Manchester/The Arc Project (composition collaborations), Rachel Sermanni (So It Turns), Vilde&Inga (Berlin Tour w/John Hollenbeck, Toby Delius, Declan Forde), Stephanie Lamprea (Tiny-works), Cansu Tanrıkulu (duo and RBB broadcast), Birgitta Flick (Quartet/Septet) and Tilo Weber (Four Fauns). 

As a soloist, he has worked with Paula Doepfner on for the trees to drop, a performance/installation/destruction at St Matthäus, Berlin, with speaker at James Turrell’s light-installation at the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, at Ideas of Noise Festival 2020 (commission and premiere of The things my parents said about childhood), as well as solo livestreams with Around The Houses Festival, 5pm Series and Deep Tones For Peace. His current Call For Pieces project has created a community of 25+ composers from around the world, providing free online composition workshops and high quality recordings for portfolios to help professional development.

As a first generation state educated student and artist/musician from a working class background, James is committed to using his current platform and privilege to widen representation in his own artistic projects, call for equity (especially in artistic development opportunities and higher education) and increase access to adventurous and original improvised music for young people. 

“…Banner’s bass alone sounds immensely colorful when played solo and lets tones and their sequences emerge in seemingly infinite numbers of smaller tone fragments. Everything sounds sonorous, warm and with so many unbelievably fine, tonal gradations. Banner shows again and again, without putting himself in the foreground when the band plays together, what enormous variety of sound and richness of color he can express with his instrument…”

Claus Volke

with Rachel Sermanni


23.3. – Recording Max Andrzejewski’s MYTHOS for Berliner Ensemble

16.4. – Tilo Weber Quartet: Four Fauns – Faun Renaissance Album Release

24.4. – Paul Santner/James Banner Duo – Video Release, Chess and Jazz Berlin

24.4. – 2.5. – Tilo Weber Quartet: Four Fauns – Faun Renaissance Tour

24.4. – Romanfabrik, Frankfurt [livestream]

25.4. – Unterfahrt, Munich [livestream]

29.4. – A Trane, Berlin [livestream]

1.5. – Jazzahead Showcase, Bremen [livestream 17:15 CET]

8.5. – 11.5 – Bruchgold und Koralle Album Recording – Low Swing Studio, Berlin

24.7. – Practically Married + guests TBC – Donau115, Berlin

12.8. – Practically Married + guests TBC – Donau115, Berlin

16.-20.8. – Recording new chamber music with Jörg Hochapfel – Berlin

5.9. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – Steglitz, Berlin

November – concerts and recording commissioned by Outernational (concept+curation by Elisa Erkelenz) for Max Andrzejewski, w/Mariana Sadovska, baroque trio + electronics  – Radialsystem + Dresden

4.11. –  BACH Leuchtet! Solo improvisation w/Bach organ music + light installation – Ev. Lukas Kirche, Berlin

11.12. – Premiere of An August Midnight for solo harp/soprano – TBC, UK

16.12. – Bruchgold und Koralle – Musikinstrumenten Museum, Berlin


New works for solo double bass/bass ensemble online throughout 2021/22

all pieces will be premiered on my social media channels and linked below

Zygmund de Somogyi – Four Studies on the Subject of OMORI

Jamie Elless – Hospice (for six double basses)

Dominic Matthews – IX Cartoon Violence

Rachel Beckles Willson – piece for double bass + mixed media

Christian Cruz – Sketch

Ben Gaunt – Concealed/Classified 30 for James Banner

Ozzy Moysey – Undertones

Sean Quinn – Echophemera for James Banner

Aidan Ramsay – The Salt Earth

Aline Homzy – TBC

Julia Mermelstein – Threaded To Be Bound / Unbound (for solo double bass + electronics)

Martin Loridan – Raining Waves

Paulo Espinoza Carrasco – Doce Palabras Redobladas13 miniatures to scare the devil, for solo double bass

Recording Max Andrzejewski’s MYTHOS for Berliner Ensemble, March 2021



TEXTS (with Stephanie Lamprea) – Autumn/Winter 2021 [listen / preorder]

Voices of Berlin – Live recording, Autumn/Winter 2021


James Banner’s USINE – 2018 [listen / buy]

Tilo Weber Quartet: Four Fauns – Faun Renaissance – 2021 [listen / buy]

Alex Roth’s MultiTraction Orchestra – Emerge Entangled – 2020 [listen / buy]

Stephanie Lamprea – Unaccompanied: Tiny-Works For Quarantine – Vol 1 – 2020 [listen/buy]

Practically Married with Will Howard and Jordan Dinsdale – Short Step – 2020 [listen / buy]

Practically Married – Inventions In Time Vol. 1 – 2020 [listen / buy]

Practically Married – Inventions In Time Vol. 2 – 2020 [listen / buy]

Mark Pringle – Book Of Haikus – 2019 [listen / buy]

Rachel Sermanni – So It Turns – 2019 [listen / buy]

Ancient Infinity Orchestra – Cosmosaic – 2019 [listen / buy]

Practically Married featuring João Lopes Pereira – Circus – 2018 [listen / buy]

Stemeseder/Banner/Alunni – WOOD / GUTS – 2018 [listen / buy – all proceeds to BLM UK]

Birgitta Flick Quartet – Color Studies – 2018 [listen / buy]

Liebesfilm – Directed by Emma Rosa Simon und Robert Bohrer [soundtrack] – 2018 [watch preview]

Salome – Directed by Ersan Mondtag [soundtrack] – 2018 [watch preview]

Mark Pringle – A Moveable Feast – 2014 [listen / buy]

Florian Weber, Anna Lena Schnabel, James Banner, James Maddren – Leipziger Jazztage 2018


Interview with BBC Radio 3

Portrait by Deutschlandfunk Kultur [DE]

Interview with Jazzlines THSH

Portrait in Der Tagesspiegel [DE]

Portrait in Jazzaffine

Review of The Whitewashed Wall in Cleveland Classical

Interview with Make The Paint Dance (Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise/UnLtd Do It Award Winner)

”a unique and surprising voice on his instrument… a gifted young composer…” – Greg Cohen

“James Banner’s USINE is 45 minutes of unobvious and unpredictable music” – Robert Ratajczak [LongPlay]

”idiosyncratic, „oblique“, intense and humorous” – Nicky Pawlow [Tagesspiegel Berlin]

“not everyone wants to pick a side… James Banner… revels in both the avant-garde and the swing… a musical balancing act”  – Martin Böttcher [Deutschlandfunk Kultur]

“If you can throw past preferences overboard, USINE rewards you with a unique sound experience” – Christian Kautz [LikeHiFi Magazine]

“English composer James Banner brings a playful setting of three Thomas Hardy poems. These tunes are light, manic, virtuosic, and full of twists and turns” – John Paul Mayse

“intense and dramatic… gentle and beautiful… characteristic of today’s contemporary jazz with the mixture of structure and freedom, full of drama and strong soloing…” – Tony Dudley-Evans

“By dividing The Whitewashed Wall into three distinct movements, James Banner gives the singer multiple opportunities to show off elements of her virtuosity. “Why does she turn…?” offers leaping contours and a climactic high note, while “Well, once…” imposes a strict, swift tempo onto the melody. “My brush goes one with a rush…”, frenetic and clearly meant to push the singer to the very upper limit of her range, comes off as a controlled detonation” – Cleveland Classical

Liz Kosack, James Banner, Cansu Tanrıkulu, Arne Braun, Elias Stemeseder, Philip Dornbusch – RBB Broadcast, November 2018


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