James Mainwaring is a saxophonist and composer immersed in the world of jazz and improvised music. Over the past thirteen years, James has been active as an individual artist and as a member of the acclaimed group Roller Trio.
Roller Trio, described by renowned DJ Giles Peterson as "Dark, menacing, bass-heavy – the new sound of UK jazz," achieved great success with their debut album in 2012. The album was nominated for prestigious awards such as the Mercury Prize, MOBO Best Jazz Act, and Jazz FM Best Newcomer. With a blend of jazz, rock, and electronic elements, Roller Trio has released three studio albums, two live albums, a film soundtrack, and has toured extensively.
In addition to his work with Roller Trio, James has pursued various other musical ventures. His most recent releases are ''Meditations 1A'' (2023) on Lamplight Social Records and "Mycorrhiza" (2021) which came out on the Discus Music label. "Mycorrhiza" has been highly regarded for its thought-provoking and cathartic nature, with critics praising the album as a reflection of our chaotic times and an essential artistic statement (Downtown Music Gallery). James has also received accolades for his project called Tipping Point, which received the Emerging Excellence Award in 2013. Supported by Jazz North and Jazz Services, Tipping Point featured acclaimed pianist Matthew Bourne, drummer Joost Hendrickx, and double bassist Michael Bardon. Their album "The Earthworm's Eye View" (2015) was celebrated for its playful, dark, skillful, and spontaneous compositions, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary musical influences (John Fordham, The Guardian).
James is not only a bandleader but has also collaborated with numerous artists and groups as a guest saxophonist. He has collaborated with Nduduzo Makathini, Django Django, John Law, Dave Kane, Morten Schantz, Sean Foran, and Space Fight, among others. His guest performances have taken him to prominent venues, festivals, and radio and TV broadcasts worldwide.
Alongside his vibrant performance career, James is a principal lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire and is the founder of Lamplight Social Records. Lamplight Social Records aims to serve as a home for a new wave of music emerging from Leeds and beyond. The label aspires to support artists who embrace experimentation and push the boundaries of their respective genres.