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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 and the UK, 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; a duo with Stephanie Lamprea focusing on commissioning and developing electro-acoustic works in collaboration with composers, including TEXTS, which has commissioned 6 international authors to create new works for the duo plus guests Anna Webber, Liz Kosack, Nick Dunston and Michaël Attias. He also co-curates the bi-monthly improvised music residency Practically Married with pianist Declan Forde at Berlin’s Donau115.

In 2022, he will run a series of online workshops with Nick Dunston, Yaz Lancaster and Jamie Elless, developing and documenting collaborative solo pieces, premiere new works with Stephanie Lamprea in a UK tour, create a book and digital release as part of TEXTS, release the second album by USINE, the debut pure analogue album by Practically Married, appear on new albums by Bruchgold und Koralle, Tilo Weber (Five Fauns), Birgitta Flick Quartet, Max Andrzejewski (Mythos), tour Outernational’s ‘Songs of Wounding’ with Mariana Sadovska, as well as being part of new projects in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and in Regensburg with Max Andrzejewski.

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), Outernational (Songs of Wounding with Mariana Sadovska), 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), 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 recording, UK tour), Vilde&Inga (Berlin Tour w/John Hollenbeck, Toby Delius, Declan Forde), Stephanie Lamprea (Tiny-works) and Cansu Tanrıkulu (duo and RBB broadcast). He performs as a sideperson 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), 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.

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

IMG-20191016-WA0002
with Rachel Sermanni

CALENDAR

202

2.4. – Bruchgold und Koralle – Wendland Jazz

Practically Married + João Lopes Pereira – Lisbon Tour #2

5.4. – Água Ardente [19:00]
5.4. – o Limbo [23:00]
6.4. – Penha Sco [19:30]
7.4. – Café Dias [19:00]

16.4. – Practically Married #35 w/Lukas Akintaya – Donau115, Berlin

30.4. – Clara Haberkamp Trio – Jazzahead, Bremen

8.5. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – industriesalon Schöneweide, Berlin

17.5. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche, Berlin

22.5. – w/Max Andrzejewski + Chor Zur Welt: Happy End, Renatured [PREMIERE] – Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

29.5. – Practically Married + Toby Delius + Jordan Dinsdale – ZigZag, Berlin

4.6. – Practically Married + Toby Delius + Michaël Attias – Sowieso, Berlin

5.6. – Donau115 10 Year Celebration w/Greg Cohen – Donau115, Berlin

8.6. – Stephanie Lamprea / James Banner Duo – The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow

9.6. – Stephanie Lamprea / James Banner Duo – Hidden Doors Festival, Edinburgh

16.6. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – Transit, Berlin

17.6. – Julie Sassoon Quartet – Zoglau 3 Raum für Musik, Reut

18.6. – Julie Sassoon Quartet – Lana Meets Jazz – Lana, Südtirol

19.6. – Mythos (Max Andrzejewski) – Berlin

20.6. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – A Trane, Berlin

26.6. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – JazzBaltica

29.6. – Birgitta Flick Quartet – Donau115, Berlin

30.6. – Practically Married #36 – Donau115, Berlin

9.7. – w/Mariana Sadovska – Rudolstadt Festival

20.8. – Max Andrzejewski’s HÜTTE play Robert Wyatt – Bielefeld

9.9. – Outernational: Songs Of Wounding with Mariana Sadovska – TBA Bonn

10.9.-24.9. – An den Rändern der Risse… in der Lücke das Grün [Max Andrzejewski with Akademietheater Regensburg] – Concerts 17 + 18 + 22.9. – Regensburg

October TBA (Salzburg) – Outernational: Songs Of Wounding with Mariana Sadovska

Practically Married + João Lopes Pereira EU Tour

17.11. – Practically Married + João Lopes Pereira – Transit, Berlin

18.-23. – Paris, Spain – TBC

24.-26.11. – Practically Married + João Lopes Pereira – Hot Club de Portugal, Lisbon

13.12. – James Banner’s USINE – Jazz+ at Seidelvilla, Munich

UPCOMING PREMIERES

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

more info ->

ensemble music premieres

Duo – The Chimera Ensemble – TBA York 2022

An August Midnight – Ruth Lee – TBA 2022

Trinket 1 – Ancient Infinity Orchestra – TBA 2022

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

RELEASES

UPCOMING

TEXTS with Stephanie Lamprea (with guests Nick Dunston, Liz Kosack, Anna Webber, Michaël Attias) – Summer 2022 [listen / preorder]

James Banner: USINE – how it will be after – Summer 2022 (KLAENG Records)

Borage (Megan Jowett / James Banner) – transitory – 2022 (WismART Records)

Bruchgold und Koralle – 2022

Practically Married with João Lopes Pereira – Live at Café Dias – 2022

Tilo Weber and Five Fauns – 2022 (Malletmuse)

DISCOGRAPHY

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 / buy]

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]

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

PRESS

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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