Primary Instrument: Vocal
James has had a passion for singing and playing guitar that spans decades. It was in Connecticut that James met Sal Salvador, (a former jazz great), who introduced him to jazz guitar. Sal ultimately challenged James that he belonged in the world of music, and that one day he would be compelled to embrace it completely. For the better part of his adult life, he considered those words to be wishful thinking and his music remained on the sidelines. Instead he took a 20-year detour building and leading large companies. Along the way he wrote pop songs about his life experiences that are part of his repertoire today. He also continued his focus on jazz songs creating his own fresh and eclectic arrangements of standards from the Great American Songbook.
In 2001, he found himself positioned at the top of the corporate ladder looking off the edge. Never having forgotten Sal's words, he took a dramatic and courageous leap back into songwriting, arranging and performing. At first, this bewildered his family and friends, but ultimately lifted James, and them, to an unprecedented new joy and affirmation that he was fulfilling his destiny.
For the past seven years James has been living in New York City writing and arranging music and performing at clubs and private events, and has recorded his first full-length CD, Do It All Over Again. In addition to being well received as a solo performer at private parties, James has performed with his band in New York City at venues such as The Metropolitan Room, PM, Satalla, and even the US Open Tennis Championships in Flushing Meadows. He performs solo or with his band. His band includes Daryl Kojak (piano), Dmitri Kolesnik (upright base), Cook Broadnax (drums), Ole Mathisen (sax) and a host of others including brass, strings and background vocalists.
Awards:Billboard awarded James a "Top 500 Songwriters Award for 2005" for his original "Anything, Any Day, Anytime" on his debut CD, Do It All Over Again.
James Hammel really connects on his new release Do It All Over Again! Nice choice of jazz standards, pop standards, and his originals...all featuring his masterful, yet effortless sounding, guitar work. It's smooth but with plenty of meat on it's bones. We love it at KUMD!! John Ziegler, KUMD, Duluth, MN
“This is a terrific CD. The title track is a real winner. The four jazz selections are terrific. Marilyn Arnold, “Afternoon Jazz”, 91.3 KVLU-FM, Beaumont, TX
“An excellent voice which seems to combine 'gentle' and 'dynamic' with ease. Rather good on the guitar, as well!” TonyWickham, Jazz World, Radio Maldwyn, UK
… [James Hammel] has undoubtedly got his new career off to a flying start. A good mix of some old standards and his own compositions serve to make [his first CD,Do It All Over Again] an eminently listenable piece of work. Allied to some superb arrangements played by top quality musicians I cannot see how this can go wrong. This will certainly go down well with K.C.R. listeners. John Reid, K.C.R. 102.8 F.M. Keith, Scotland
New York, NY
Willing to teach:
I have been teaching for a long time and continue to do so on a part time basis. Primary focus is on chord structure, scales, arpeggios, and technique.