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James with his Peter Eaton clarinet.
and SYOS signature mouthpiece
Born in 1971 in North Wales, James Evans took up the piano at age 6, clarinet at age 12 and sax at 16. James attended the jazz course at Leeds Music College. Even before graduating in 1993 James had started touring Europe with Phil Mason's New Orleans All Stars.
In 1996 James left the Mason band to work freelance.
He moved to London in 1998 where he worked with The Boston Tea Party, Keith Nichol’s Cotton Club Orchestra, Sammy Rimington, Chris Barber, Ken Sims, Alan Barnes, TJ Johnson, Martin Lytton, Norman Grodenz and Barry Martyn's Young Bloods. James also played rhythm and blues with Angela Brown and the Mighty 45s and the New Orleans R&B-style Ginger Pig Band.
Whilst in the UK James ran four groups of his own: The New Orleans Wizards, The Incredible String Four, The Rocket Five, and James Evans’ Octupal Odyssey, which featured James' own compositions and played many festivals across the UK. This included a performance of James’ compositions and arrangements played by his String 4 accompanied by the Welsh Chamber Orchestra.
James moved to New Orleans in 2013 to pursue his lifelong love of the city and its music. Since his arrival he has played regularly with many local luminaries such as Leroy Jones, Gregg Stafford, Steve Pistorius, Kevin Lewis, Seva Venet, Lucien Barbarin, Tim Laughlin, Gerald French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Duke Heitger, Lars Edegran, The Shotgun Jazz Band, The Smoking Time Jazz Club, Tuba Skinny, and many more. He has appeared in many venues around town such as Preservation Hall, The Palm Court Jazz Café, The Spotted Cat, as well as The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In 2016 James recorded The Golden Whippet of Algiers, an album of James’ music with a stellar lineup including James Singleton on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums. 2019 saw the release of "The Divine Array of Possibilities" a trio album featuring James Singleton and Nahum Zdybel. Also in 2019 there was an online release of "James Evans' Greatest Hits', a compilation of compositions from the last 20 years. 2020 promises much more original music.