James Westfall is a multi-genre instrumentalist, composer, and arranger living and working in Nashville. He performs most regularly on keyboards, piano and mallet percussion.
Though Westfall now performs, records, and composes in contemporary commercial music styles, his background is in jazz – where he spent fourteen years living and working in the lush music scene in New Orleans. While living in New Orleans he attended The University of New Orleans where he was able to perform and be mentored under Harold Battiste, Ellis Marsalis, and Steve Masakowski.
One of James’ first honors in the jazz world was when he was invited to participate in the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. In 2003 James was accepted as the first vibraphonist in the history of The Thelonious Monk Institute. While attending the Monk Institute he was able to perform at venues like Tokyo Jazz Festival, Blue Note, and Blues Alley with artists such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, and Clark Terry.
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With all of the clone-like music in today’s jazz environment, it is nice to hear fresh and developing recordings like Independent. —Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
Westfall's style is distinct and uplifting...incorporating elements of rock and hip-hop. —Forest Dylan Bryant, JazzTimes
Independent proves that this band of musical mavericks has indeed arrived and is here to stay. —Geraldine Wyckoff Offbeat
His composition chops appear to float atop a deep well, and we can look forward to his next journey. —Andrea Canter The Jazz Police