Hannah James is an Australian bassist, composer, band leader and educator based in Sydney.
As leader, she runs the Hannah James Trio (HJT) and quintet project ‘Hatch’ performing her own original works, and the 10 piece powerhouse ensemble Pharos.
Pharos is driven by a philosophy of promoting and performing creative new works from Australia’s leading jazz composers and outstanding female and non binary artists from around the world. The ensemble has developed an impressive body of repertoire through collaborations with Dr Sandy Evan (AU), Ingrid and Christine Jensen (Can/USA), Silke Eberhardt (ger), Helen Sung (USA), Lakecia Benjamin (USA), Rafael Karlen (Bris/Syd), Paul Cutlan (Syd) and more.
She is a member of the feel-good New Orleans outfit The Crawfish Po’Boys, Fusion project “Energetic Zen Quintet, Mingus Amongst Us, leading Australian Big Band the Jazz Groove Mothership Orchestra, the award-winning cabaret “Lady Sings It Better”, Divergence Jazz Orchestra, Portuguese ensemble the Alma Orkestra as well as working extensively as a freelance artist in jazz, contemporary and musical theatre.
Hannah is a casual lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – Jazz Faculty where she is also undertaking postgrad performance research under supervisor Simon Barker. Hannah is a regular tutor for the SIMA young women in Jazz program developed by Dr Sandy Evans, casual bass tutor for UNSW, runs workshops in jazz composition and improvisation for high school students, teaches privately and in schools throughout Sydney including running a co-curricular music program at a leading selective school.
Playing credits include working alongside Katie Noonan, Alister Spence, Sandy Evans, Ingrid and Christine Jensen (US/UK), Lakecia Benjamin (USA) Silke Eberhardt (ger), Helen Sung (USA), Don Burrows, Kevin Hunt, Sandy Evans, Angie Hart, Dean Manning, Lady Sings it Better and Matt Keegan amongst others and tours in and around Australia, Asia and the UK.
Hannah grew up a small rural town outside of Canberra. She began her musical training in classical piano, before taking up the double bass. She received a scholarship to study Jazz Performance at the ANU School of Music, completing her Honors there under the tutelage of bassist Eric Ajaye before moving to Sydney where she currently resides.
Hannah was the recipient of the prestigious Jann Rutherford Memorial Award for women in jazz, has been invited to perform at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival, Canberra Capital Jazz Project, Jazzgroove Summer Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Bennett’s Lane (Melb), MONA (tas) SIMA Sound Lounge, Kinetic Jazz festival and on ABC radio national and ABC Dig Jazz.