THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JAMES, formed in 1992, James Greening stepped forward as a bandleader and composer, presenting music with all the qualities of wit, creativity and exuberance that have long been associated with his work as a soloist. In 1998 a review in the Sydney Morning Herald described the group as probably the best unrecorded band in the country. After featuring on numerous other artists’ recordings over the years it wasn’t until 1999 that James Greening released an album in his own right of original compositions, No Job Too Small, on Rufus in 1999. Critically acclaimed, it was introduced internationally by Cadence as “one of the best albums of the year, writing “The World According to James is a near-perfect blend of great solos, superb compositions and arrangements, and enough wackiness never to tire”. A second CD, Way Back, was released in 2002 on Heads Up and distributed by Vitamin Records. This CD featured a collaboration with Mathew Doyle, a leading improvising didjeridoo player and the late Jackie Orszaczky. It was again critically acclaimed and nominated for an Aria award in 2003
The World According to James‘ third CD, Lingua Franca, won the AIR (Australian Independent Records Labels) award for Jazz album of the year for 2010.
The World According to James, that is, James Greening, which was formed in 1992, has featured at numerous Festivals both internationally and nationally, including at the Berlin Jazz Festival. They have recorded three critically acclaimed CDs – No Job Too Small, reviewed by New York based Cadence magazine as one of the best Jazz CD releases of 1999; Wayback, nominated for an ARIA award in 2003 and Lingua Franca, which was awarded the AIR (Australian Independent Record Labels) Best Jazz CD Award in 2010.
The ethos of the band is expressed in the CD sleeve of Wayback:
“For me, improvisation is about drawing upon your experiences and being able to interact in the moment. It always involves risk. To be confident it will work well requires intimate relationships between the musicians performing. The World According to James is about joy, the pure joy of creating music you feel passionately about with the people you love and respect.”
GREENING FROM EAR TO EAR sees James embark on an evocative musical journey with 6 of his favourite and long-time musical associates. Formed in 2012, Greening From Ear to Ear is a seven piece project for which James Greening composed a diverse and engaging suite. “Tam O’Shanter Tales” is an encapsulation of his creative life so far, tipping his cap to the great musicians that have shaped his vision. John Shand wrote in his review of GREENING FROM EAR TO EAR, which debuted at SIMA:
“James Greening has every right to be ambitious. For 25 years, and via associations with the late Jackie Orszaczky, Ten Part Invention, the Umbrellas, The catholics, Wanderlust, Bernie McGann, Sandy Evans and Stu Hunter, He has established himself as Sydney’s preeminent trombonist.” Of James strength as a bandleader Shand wrote:
"Greening is an expert at building esprit de corps in any band. The warmth on stage spilled off it.”
While composing the album in the coastal community of Tasmania’s pristine Tam O’Shanter beach, James was reading the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which inspired the passion and beauty of Hazara. The rhythmic groove of Hazara is a tribute to the late Kim Sanders who lived a life of exploration of traditional music from around the globe. Early Morning "sounds like something Tom Waits might've written at the end of a long night" (Jasmine Crittenden) is about hope. That is, from the darkest night, the more beautiful a new dawn emerges. It is dedicated to the mentors and elders of the Australian music scene - John Pochee, Mike Nock, Judy Bailey, Sandy Evans, Miroslav Bukovsky, Allan Brown and the late Jackie Orszaczky, Bernie McGann, Dave Addes and Kim Sanders who have left behind them a spirited legacy of creative live music performance.