"Go see them if you can for one of the best gigs of your life.”
- Now Then Magazine
'Agbeko have developed their sound to the point of distinction ...deeply danceable, lyrically poignant and, importantly, identifiable.'
- The Guide to the World of Music
James is a co-founder of Agbeko, the afro-rock-funk-psych 12-piece based in Manchester. Led by saxophonist Jamie Stockbridge, they deliver powerful songs packed with riffs, groove and lyrical prowess to move gig-goers, festival throngs and afro-funk afficionados alike across the UK and Europe.
Agbeko were born out of admiration for the enduring music of 1970s West Africa and have spent the past three years honing a singular, contemporary sound drawing from Afrobeat, Ethiojazz, psychedelic rock, funk and raucous-leaning jazz
In 2023 Agbeko release and tour their sophomore album 'Leaders Of The Free World', following their 2020 debut album 'D.O.D.', and single release 'Leaders Of The Free World' on Stutter & Twitch Records in 2018.
Lieko Quintet was a Manchester-based group lead by pianist Alex Hill, turning contemporary jazz on its head with melodic, groove-infused compositions. Treading a path somewhere between soul music and folk song, they use melody as a focal point for moving between riff-based interplay and free improvisation.
Their E.P. 'Amethyst' was released in January 2019, followed by singles 'Black Lake' and 'La Côte Méditeranée' in 2020.
"...intelligent, inventive and imaginative..”
- The Jazz Mann
The Easy Rollers
Taking you back to the golden age of jazz, The Easy Rollers are a roaring septet performing music of the Prohibition era through to the end of the Swing era. Since 2016 they have been steadily building a reputation as one of the hardest working swing bands in the North of England, with appearances at Manchester Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Lake District Summer Music Festival, Buxton International Festival, Brecon Jazz Festival, Marsden Jazz Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Their debut album was released and toured in 2022. They toured their original show 'Drop Me Off In Harlem' in 2023. With The Easy Rollers, James plays gypsy jazz guitar and a 90-year-old banjolele.
'A slick, tightly choreographed hour of sizzling speakeasy from a melodious young septet.'
- FringeReview, Aug 2019
"They're great fun and they'll swing you into bad health.”
- Stephen Duffy, BBC Radio Scotland
From 2015-20, James and Aaron Wood (trumpet) co-led Artephis, a contemporary jazz/rock-influenced quintet based in Manchester, comprising some of the North's most creatively diverse young musicians.
In 2020, they released singles 'Glow'/'Treading Water' as well as 'Artephis with The Untold Orchestra', following their debut album 'All Change No Change' in 2017. Aired on BBC Radio 3 and on Radio 2 by Jamie Cullum, who called it a “brilliant new release that got my ears bouncing” and chose track 'Feroz' as his BBC Introducing highlight of the year, the album was awarded the Sir John Manduell Prize.
Artephis have performed to capacity audiences at the major jazz festivals across the North, as well as at Brecon Jazz Festival, Band On The Wall, The Cavern Club and Kendal Calling. They have supported post-Bowie Donny McCaslin, Darius Brubeck, and Marquis Hill's Blacktet. Artephis were Jazz North 'Northern Line' (2018-19) and 'Introduces' (2015-16) artists.