James Westfall Quartet
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
James Westfall was born in Houston, Tx where he attended The High School for Performing and Visual Arts. At HSPVA he was able to perform with such American icons as Shania Twain and Dr. Billy Taylor. After a restored vibraphone was given to him by his grandfather James made the switch from piano to vibraphone with ease. After graduation he moved to New Orleans to continue his studies at the University of New Orleans where he studied privately with Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, and Ed Petersen. While attending UNO he was performing in bands led by his peers and elders including Harold Battiste and Steve Masakowski. He was also chosen to attend Betty Carter Jazz Ahead at The Kennedy Center.
While still living in New Orleans, Terence Blanchard helped mentor his studies and encouraged him to audition for The Thelonious Monk Institute. In 2003 he was accepted as the first vibraphonist in the history of the Institute. While attending the Monk Institute he was able to fulfill his jazz dreams by performing at venues like Tokyo Jazz Festival, Blue Note, and Blues Alley with artists such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, and Clark Terry.
From 2005 to 2007 he lived in New York where he formed The Wee Trio. This collaborative band continues to perform across the country at high caliber venues like The Green Mill, Jazz at the Bistro, and Snug Harbor. They also continue to 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." Also while in New York he was able to gain some sideman experience with the likes of Terri Lyne Carrington and Nicholas Payton.
In 2007, Westfall moved back to New Orleans where he took up residence in the Musician's Village. Since his return to New Orleans, he continues to dedicate his energies in The Wee Trio as a bi-costal band. This band is about to release their 4th record Live At The Bistro. Westfall also is a co-leader of the electro pop band Bionica who will also be releasing a 2nd record in January of 2014. Other musical projects include being the Vice President of The 9th Ward Opera Company. He often performs duets with his wife, vocalist Dr. Kathleen Westfall, director of the 9th Ward Opera Company. Finally, he is often called for sideman work around New Orleans.
As well as a performer, Westfall is also an educator. He is an adjunct instructor at The University of Southern Mississippi and at The University of New Orleans. When Westfall is not making music you can find him competing in BBQ Competitions in the Gulf Coast.