James Singleton is one of New Orleans’– if not the country’s – most adventurous and energetic stand-up bassists. He is perhaps most noted for his membership in the contemporary jazz quartet Astral Project, but he is also a composer, producer, bandleader, and one of the most in-demand sidemen in town. He is an aural innovator, and collaborates with some of the day’s leading artists to break musical boundaries. All the while, his infectious smile and enthusiasm light up any performance space.
Born in Chicago in 1955, Singleton went to college briefly to study jazz, but moved to New Orleans in 1976 to play with legendary Louisiana bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth Brown. He began gigging with James Booker and Ellis Marsalis, and formed Astral Project with Johnny Vidacovich, Steve Masakowski, Tony Dagradi, and Dave Torkanowsky.
Over his four-decade career he has played and recorded with a lengthy list of legends: John Scofield, Chet Baker, John Abercrombie, Lionel Hampton, Art Baron, Eddie Harris, Alvin “Red” Tyler, and Earl Turbinton, among others.
His contemporary projects include work with Skerik, Stanton Moore, Helen Gillet, Robert Walter, and John Medeski. He fronts his own eponymous combos, 3 Now 4, and, most recently, Nolatet, which includes Mike Dillon on vibes, Brian Haas on piano, and Johnny Vidacovich on drums.
Singleton has toured the world with a number of different groups, and at home is the go-to bassist to call for a gig. He has recorded on countless albums, and has collected a shelf-load of awards and honors.