James Mainwaring

James Mainwaring playing Saxophone

Job Title: Senior Lecturer: Jazz
Courses Taught: BA (Hons) Music (Jazz)
Specialisms: Saxophone, Improvisation, Composition, Performance with Electronics


Since graduating from Leeds Conservatoire in 2010, saxophonist and composer James Mainwaring has been recognised both individually, as a sideman and for his work with Roller Trio.

Described by Giles Peterson as “Dark, menacing, bass-heavy – the new sound of UK jazz,” Roller Trio’s debut (2012) was nominated for the Mercury prize, MOBO Best Jazz Act and Jazz FM best newcomer. They were also awarded the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, were chosen for BBC introducing, and have since released three albums, two live albums, a film soundtrack and have toured extensively. Touring highlights include headlining the Arena Stage at Love Supreme Festival, playing at Cheltenham Jazz Fest, across Europe, Sudan, South Korea as well as London’s Ronnie Scotts, Kings Place and Canary Wharf Jazz Festival.

In 2013 James received the Emerging Excellence Award, and support from Jazz North and Jazz Services for his new project: Tipping Point. Featuring acclaimed pianist Matthew Bourne, drummer Joost Hendrickx and double bassist Michael Bardon, Tipping Point toured and released The Earthworm’s Eye View in 2015, commended by John Fordham in the Guardian as “playful, dark, skilful and spontaneous… a surefooted trip across many persuasions in contemporary music’. Additionally, James explores performing solo with saxophone and electronics, including performances at Jazz in the Round and Kings Place as part of London Jazz Festival, described as an ‘intense, uncompromising performance that was utterly compelling’ (Jazzmann).

As well as a bandleader, he has featured as a guest with Nduduzo Makathini, (Ikhambi), Django Django (Born Under Saturn, Marble Skies), John Law, (Configuration), Dave KaneMorten Schantz, Sean Foran, Space Fight and many more; appearing internationally at major venues, festivals, on the radio and TV broadcasts. James is currently signed to Edition Records and alongside his performance career, is a senior lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire and PhD student at the University of York– (recipient of the Sir Jack Lyons Scholarship).

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