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James Armstrong

James Armstrong has explored concurrent paths in improvisation and modern classical music since his 1979 graduation from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Past projects include trios, quartets, and inventions for small ensembles - volatile, labor-intensive music with a marked pantonal focus. Now working on original repertoire for solo performance.

“...He has a firm grasp of the sheer power of Monk, often slamming the keys to create a shattering dissonance...he understands the rhythmic complexities of Cecil Taylor and the intellectualism of Andrew Hill. He has used these strong influences to create a personal style, always saving room for the purity of his own fingers on the keys. It is through his touch, his feel for the instrument that he achieves his individual power...”

-Stefan Zeniuk, Jazz Now Interactive, July 2002

Zhong Wen and Portrait of Yoko © 2009 by James David Armstrong, Jr. (BMI). All rights reserved.

Digital image / album cover 'A Letter' by Hiroko Sakai, used with permission.

Robert's Return © 2010 by James David Armstrong, Jr. (BMI). All rights reserved. YouTube videos courtesy RWH Triad: Robert Houtman, drums; Carl Herder, bass; David Copeland, guitar.

”...oudev oida! really beautiful stuff, pushing the possibilities of an instrument that's been around for a few hundred years. attaching that third arm has really worked out! - Andrew Wilshusen
Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara (1979). California teacher credential. Accepting highly motivated adult piano students in the South Bay. Please write for information - James Armstrong Music




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