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Adam Page
James Brown

Guitarist James Brown grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, writing and performing in a variety of bands with some of Adelaide’s leading jazz, rock and experimental musicians. While his roots lie firmly in the jazz tradition of improvised music, he continues to strive for new sounds through the exploration of many genres, from the avant-garde and experimental, such as his collaborations with bassist Lyndon Gray in Glass Indian and Bestseller - the latter recently writing and performing live music to silent films by Charlie Chaplin - through to the experimental groove-based improvisations of The Raucoustra, with multi-instrumentalist and long time collaborator Adam Page (AUS/NZ), the trans-Tasman “groove-smearing” of The Grand Szechuan with legendary Wellington drummer Riki Gooch (NZ), and more recently the composed instrumental music of Brown’s indie-jazz-rock project Only The Sky.

Other projects include the creative collective 1.1 Immermann (led by renowned Adelaide drummer Jarrad Payne) and groove outfit Kubrick, both documented with the full-length album releases 1.1 Immermann (2008), Clovers (2011) and Think (2007), as well as modern-jazz quartet Splinter Group, a recording of which can be heard on the ABC Jazz compilation Home Grown and Rare (2007). Each of these projects provides a unique framework in which James is able to express the many facets of his distinctive approach to writing and improvisation. He is also actively involved with the organisation Creative Original Music Adelaide (COMA - now in its 8th year), where he is currently serving as Artistic Director along with fellow guitarist Sam Cagney. He and Cagney have recently formed a bass-less double guitar trio with drummer Stephen Neville - a group central in the attempt to establish the Adelaide Jazz Collective.


Born in a small port in South Africa in 1982, and after living in England for the first 5 years of his life, James began taking guitar lessons in 1988 at the age of 6, after the family moved to Sydney. He quickly took to the instrument, continuing his studies through his primary and secondary schooling. The guitarists growth as a musician followed a common path; he devoted a great deal of time to playing in the blues/rock tradition of the electric guitar, with his early influences centred around blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan and, like most guitarists, Hendrix. From these roots he began to branch out into heavier styles, in particular the 90s rock and indie music that surrounded him as a teenager. This period gave him a great deal of performance experience, with regular gigs in and around Adelaide in what was a vibrant rock scene in the 1990s.

James was introduced to jazz when his long time guitar teacher dubbed a selection of classic jazz albums onto tape. Among them was Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue as well as some Coltrane recording from the same period. He was instantly hooked on the jazz sound and began studying the seemingly unfathomable improvisational language of the 50s and 60s jazz world, going on to study jazz and improvisation at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in 2000, and completing a Masters degree in 2007. Aside from the immersion of practice and study of an exciting musical genre, this environment provided James with the opportunity to forge long lasting musical and personal relationships with a wide variety of Adelaide’s leading musicians, setting the guitarist on a path of exploration and intense musical development, ultimately resulting in the ensembles and collaborations that continue to shape his writing and performance to this day.

After completing his studies, James spent some time in New York, where he had the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most prestigious jazz clubs and take lessons from some of NYC’s finest musicians. He later spent time in London, where he played mostly electric bass and picked up performance and session work wherever he could. He returned to Adelaide in 2010.

Go to read Graham Reid's Elsewhere review of The Harvest



In 2014, a new album by James Brown's band yeahyeahabsolutelynoway will be released on Rattle Jazz
Click the links below to view four tracks recently recorded live at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide

View Howl
View On Your Marx, Get Set!
View And So On
View The End Of The Fray