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 (1991) was born in Dudley, England and is now based in Berlin, working as an improvising musician and composer. Current projects include: USINE with Cansu Tanrıkulu, Max Andrzejewski and Declan Forde; commissioning, workshopping and recording new solo pieces for double bass and presenting his solo programme; Borage with Megan Jowett; Machair Duo with Stephanie Lamprea focusing on commissioning and developing electro-acoustic works in collaboration with composers, and class-work. He also co-curates the bi-monthly improvised music residency Practically Married with pianist Declan Forde at Berlin’s Donau115, and performs on double bass with Outernational projects EXT INC / Remember Me and Songs of Wounding.

In 2023, he will premiere solo bass works by Nick Dunston, Yaz Lancaster, Jamie Elless and James Thomas, create the book and digital release of TEXTS with Stephanie Lamprea, Nick Dunston, Michaël Attias, Anna Webber and Liz Kosack, release the debut album by improvising string duo Borage with Megan Jowett on WismART Records, the debut duo album by Practically Married, and appear on new albums by Bruchgold und Koralle, Tilo Weber and Five Fauns, and Rachel Sermanni. As a composer, he will premiere a 30 minute electroacoustic suite for chamber ensemble and electronics based on found texts, and develop a 45 minute multichannel sound installation with ensemble, with premieres of both works in Berlin. James will also write and record a series of duos for voice with double bass, viola da gamba and percussion, with Stephanie Lamprea, Cansu Tanrıkulu, Liam Byrne and Evi Filippou, and release his electroacoustic piece for chamber orchestra and improvising musician, written for the London Chamber Orchestra.

As a performer and collaborator he has worked on projects with artists, organisations and festivals including: Podium Esslingen/Quadrature (#bebeethoven), Max Andrzejewski: HÜTTE, Berliner Ensemble (Mythos/Nibelungen), Maxim Gorki Theatre (Salome), Happy End, Renatured with Chor Zur Welt, Akademie Theater Regensburg, Outernational (Songs of Wounding with Mariana Sadovska + EXT INC / Remember Me with Aida Shirazi/Emre Dündar), Tempus Konnex Ensemble (IMPULS 2021), Leipziger Jazztage (Fish and Chips with Anna-Lena Schnabel, Floria Weber, James Maddren, The Floor Is Lava! by Nick Dunston, commission of class-work in 2022), Beethoven Fest Bonn, Jazz&TheCity Salzburg, Jazz Festival Saalfelden, Musikcentrum Öst Stockholm (Jazz Alloy with Lina Nyberg, Laura Jurd, Daniel Karlsson), Making Music/Sound and Music/PRSF/BBC (Adopt A Composer), soundfestival Aberdeen, 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) and London Chamber Orchestra (premiere of anti-dirge for orchestra and improvising soloist). He also performs on double bass with Birgitta Flick (Quartet/Septet), Jörg Hochapfel (Bruchgold und Koralle) and Tilo Weber (Four Fauns and Five 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), at Jazz&TheCity Festival, Salzburg, and Caracol in Paris, 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/double bass workshops, commissioning and producing and high quality recordings for portfolios to help professional development, and engaging in workshops in higher education institutions. He released his debut solo album digitally and on limited edition cassette and CD in March 2022, which was featured in a profile on SWR2 Radio.

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. He is a workshop facilitator with Make The Paint Dance and visiting lecturer in double and electric bass for actor musicians at Leeds Conservatoire.

“…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



1.3. – Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – Fat Jazz, Hamburg

4.3. – Fabiana Striffler / Megan Jowett / Liron Yariv / Paul Santner / Declan Forde / James Banner – Workshop Matthias von Wallbrun, Berlin

5.3. – class-work – Industriesalon Schöneweide, Berlin

28.3. – workshop composing for double bass and improvising musicians – Sheffield University, UK

29.3. – Premiere of tremors in the rift between by James Thomas plus pieces by Sheffield University Students – Firth Hall, Sheffield University, UK

5.4. – Borage (Megan Jowett / James Banner) – Spektral-Raumohr, Berlin

14.4. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – CVJM

28.4. – Ext Inc / Remember Me (Outernational) – European Centre of the Arts, Hellerau [Dresdener Tage der Zeitgenössischen Musik]

12. + 13.5. – Han Bennink/Toby Delius/Declan Forde/James Banner – KM28, Berlin

17.5. – Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – Kulturforum, Kiel

20.5. – Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – Spitalkeller, Offenburg

21.5. – Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – Dumont, Aachen

7.6. – Practically Married + Tony Malaby – Donau115, Berlin

1.7. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – Holzbläser, Berlin

15.9. – EXT INC / Remember Me – Beethoven Fest, Bonn

16.11. – Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – Jazzhall, Hamburg

7.12. – Paul Dunmall invites: James Banner + TBC – Birmingham Conservatoire



TEXTS with Stephanie Lamprea (with guests Nick Dunston, Liz Kosack, Anna Webber, Michaël Attias) – 2023 [listen / preorder]

class-work – 2023

Borage (Megan Jowett / James Banner) – transitory – 2023 (WismART Records)

Duos for voice with viola da gamba, percussion and bass – 2023

Bruchgold und Koralle – 2023

Practically Married – 2023

Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – 2023 (Malletmuse)

Rachel Sermanni – 2023


James Banner: USINE – how it will be after – 2022 (KLAENG Records) [listen / buy]

Practically Married + João Lopes Pereira – ao Vivo no Café Dias – 2022 (Robalo Music) [listen/buy]

James Banner – solo – 2022 (self-release) [listen/buy]

Max Andrzejewski – Mythos – 2022 (Backlash Music) [listen/buy]

Birgitta Flick Quartet – Miniatures and Fragments – 2022 (Doublemoon/Challenge) [listen/buy]

Meschiya Lake & The New Movement – Looking The World Over – 2022 (Sungroove Records) [listen/buy]

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

Alex Roth’s MultiTraction Orchestra – Emerge Entangled – 2020 (self-release) [listen / buy]

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

Practically Married with Will Howard and Jordan Dinsdale – Short Step – 2020 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Practically Married – Inventions In Time Vol. 1 – 2020 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Practically Married – Inventions In Time Vol. 2 – 2020 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Mark Pringle – Book Of Haikus – 2019 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Rachel Sermanni – So It Turns – 2019 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Ancient Infinity Orchestra – Cosmosaic – 2019 (Polyscope) [listen]

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

Practically Married featuring João Lopes Pereira – Circus – 2018 (self-release) [listen / buy]

Stemeseder/Banner/Alunni – WOOD / GUTS – 2018 (self-release) [listen / buy – all proceeds to BLM UK]

Birgitta Flick Quartet – Color Studies – 2018 (Doublemoon/Challenge) [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 (Stoney Lane) [listen / buy]


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


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