James Waterman is a multifaceted percussionist, composer, and teaching artist based in Los Angeles. James is devoted to the exploration of all areas of percussion and has extensively studied West African drumming, Western Classical solo repertoire, orchestral percussion, Middle Eastern drumming, Trinidadian Steel Drums, jazz vibraphone, latin percussion, drum set, Indian tabla and tala systems, and Brazilian percussion. James has also traveled to Ghana where he studied drumming, singing, and dancing and performed as a lead drummer at the Dagbe Cultural Institute and Arts Centre.
James’s compositions span from the stage to the screen, and include the original score for Sharine Atif’s award-winning film Jebel Banat (Festival de Cannes and Tribeca Film Festival). He was also commissioned by the dance company DANCE AEGIS to compose original music for Kennesaw State University’s performance of choreographer Andrea Gise’s Unearthing. James has also composed original works for the fusion ensemble Dhara, which have debuted at SFJAZZ, Joshua Tree Music Festival, and The Blue Whale.
As a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist, James has performed in television and radio on Los Angeles’s KPFK 90.6 FM, PBS SoCal’s LA County Holiday Celebration at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and NBC’s Today Show. He has played with a wide variety of ensembles and artists including Randy Gloss, Houman Pourmehdi, four larks, Alessandra Belloni, SK Kakraba Band, Volta Drum and Dance, Nani Agbeli, and Zadonu African Music and Dance Company. James has performed at such venues as SFJAZZ, PASIC, The Getty Villa, REDCAT, The Joshua Tree Music Festival, The Blue Whale, and the NAMM Show.
James holds a Master of Fine Arts in World Percussion from California Institute of the Arts, and received a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Music Education The Hartt School.
James is proud endorser of Innovative Percussion mallets and sticks, and Remo drumheads.