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. 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.
In 2007 Westfall formed ‘The Wee Trio’ while living in New York. This collaborative band continues to perform across the country at high caliber venues like The Green Mill, Jazz at the Bistro, and Yoshi’s. They also play numerous festivals and have taken up artist residency at a few Universities. The Boston Globe declared their first album, Capitol Diner Vol. 1, to be a “winning debut.” Westfall also released Independent, his own record around this time – Jazztimes quoted it as being “uplifting and distinctive.” He was also was able to gain sideman experience performing with artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington and Nicholas Payton.
In 2009 James founded the band ‘Bionica’ where they perform throughout the Gulf Coast. This New Orleans based band has headlined in some of the top clubs including One Eyed Jacks (New Orleans) and Fitzgerald’s (Houston). Bionica is currently gearing up to release it’s 2nd CD Future Settlers in 2015.
Westfall prides himself on continuing the tradition of breaking tradition. Whether he is performing with The Wee Trio or his solo projects, “Westfall continues to incorporate elements of rock and hip-hop.” – Jazztimes. As well as a performer, Westfall is also a music educator. From 2011-2014 he was employed as an adjunct instructor at The University of Southern Mississippi teaching piano and vibraphone.
Today Westfall resides in Nashville, TN working as a keyboardist and mallet percussionist in several genres of music. He continues to perform with The Wee Trio as well as his wife, vocalist Dr. Kathleen Westfall, founder of the 9th Ward Opera Company. When Westfall is not making music you can find him competing in BBQ Competitions in the Gulf Coast.