James was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia. He began playing the electric bass in early high school and took up the double bass upon entering post-secondary. After a brief stint studying music and Capilano College in North Vancouver, James moved to Montreal where he earned his Bachelors in Jazz Studies from McGill University and studied with drummer/composer Chris McCann.
Despite working and studying primarily in the fields of jazz and improvised music, James’ experience on the bass spans many different areas of music. In his late teens he was a member of the acclaimed Vancouver based indie-roots band, The Sumner Brothers, with which he recorded two studio albums over 3 years. Later he went on to tour Eastern Europe with art-rock band, Dark Blue World, as well as tour all over Canada with Vancouver folk act, The Fugitives.
While attending McGill University, James helped form the collective saxophone trio, Braveheart. They have toured several times around Canada and self-released one album of original music entitled Acoustic Music.
James currently resides in Vancouver, where he is an active member of many diverse groups including: The Bruno Hubert Trio, Squareheart, 4=4, O.A.B., Tom Wherrett Trio, Proud Animal, The Jaclyn Guillou Band and Cow Trance.