Pianist, keyboardist and composer James Carney is an improviser who draws inspiration from many different sources of music, and he has been fortunate to work with a wide variety of great musicians and artists throughout his career. [Ravi Coltrane, Christian McBride, Michael Cain, Darek Oleszkiewicz, Tim Berne, Nels Cline, Todd Sickafoose among many others.]
Carney was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and in late 2004, he moved from Los Angeles, his home of eighteen years, to New York City.
James Carney has cultivated a reputation for developing an original, polystylistic approach to making music - a philosophy that respects and explores both tradition and the avant-garde. He has recorded five albums as a leader - his last two for the Songlines label. Green-Wood (Songlines 1566) was released in 2007 to wide acclaim, and Ways & Means (Songlines 1580) will be released in July 2009. The septet he leads on both recordings, also known as the James Carney Group, features some of New York’s most creative and in-demand musicians: trumpeter Ralph Alessi, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, trombonist Josh Roseman, saxophonist Peter Epstein, bassist Chris Lightcap, and drummer Mark Ferber.
Ways and Means, a long-form composition and virtual film score, was commissioned by Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Carney is also working on a new commission for the Puffin Cultural Foundation, which will be premiered in October 2009.