Born: November 12, 1968 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
James Duncan is a Trumpet player, Guitarist, Improvisor and Producer.
He has performed and toured with a wide variety of musicians from both inside and outside of the jazz spectrum.
Originally from Toronto, he stated playing the trumpet at 10 years old, continuing his studies at The University of Toronto. While still in Toronto, he began lead his own ensembles and became active in a number of different genres and styles.
Moving to New York City in the early 2000s, he was quickly embraced by key players in the Downtown Avant Garde and Improv scenes. Joining improvisation collective Izititz, lead by veteran bassist Matt Heyner (TEST, NNCK, William Parker, Alan Silva, Thurston Moore), they released 2 titles on The No Neck Blues Band's label Sound@1 to high acclaim.
While continuing to be active in the Downtown Scene, he also recorded with many in the emerging New Disco scene, most notably for the Environ Records label, on releases by Morgan Geist, Kelley Polar and Metro Area, Metro Area garnering such praise as CD of the Year 2002 by BBC Radio 1 (Dance) and making Rolling Stone's 2002 top 50 CD list. Metro Area was recently awarded #2 CD in Resident Advisor's Top 100 CDs of the Decade and #1 in their Singles of the Decade. He also appeared on The Rapture's 2002 12 single House of Jealous Lovers kicking off DFA Records, run by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. HOJL recently was awarded #16 single on Pitchfork's Top 100 Singles of the Decade (2000-2010), among other recognitions and praise.
Closer to the jazz world, he has played and recorded with groups run by or comprising of people like Sabir Mateen (William Parker, Cecil Taylor), Ras Moshe, Matt Heyner (TEST, NNCK), Marc Edwards (Cecil Taylor), Juini Booth (Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Larry Young), Tom Bruno (TEST), Daniel Carter (TEST, Other Dimensions in Music), Jackson Krall (Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry), Butch Morris, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca, Chris Corsano (Bjork) playing at venues such as Tonic, The Stone, The Knitting Factory, Yod Collective, NuBlu, PS1, Roulette, Issue Project Room, Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival, The Sonic Fiction Festival in Warsaw, Poland and the Guelph Jazz Festival in his native Canada.
Recently he joined Arthur's Landing (Strut) a group comprised of collaborators of the late downtown genius Arthur Russell, who celebrate his life by playing his music. Their upcoming second CD is being produced by Disco and Downtown legend Bob Blank (Blank Tapes Studios, Musique/Patrick Adams Productions) and is scheduled for summer 2013. He also produces his own dancefloor/DJ oriented efforts, releasing them on his own label, Le Systeme Records, receiving multiple record of the week honors at record stores around the world. (Le Systeme also released a solo trumpet CD by the late American trumpeter Raphe Malik in 2001.)
He has studied Trumpet with Dr Jeffrey Reynolds, Larry Weeks and Barton Woomert (Toronto Symphony) and the late Raphe Malik and improvisation with Ornette Coleman along with participating in improvisation workshops run by Butch Morris and the AACM's Leo Smith . He continues to study with Scott Wendholt and Laurie Frink.