Jim Bashford

James Bashford jbreakfastMy portrait of Jim was made canal side near the ICC building in Birmingham on 7 December 2015. I decided to shoot a square format image, composing as though it were an album cover.

By Garry Corbett

Jim has to be one of the hardest working musicians on the jazz scene. Born in Sutton Coldfield in May 1977 he began playing drums aged 13, influenced by rock and jazz. Self-taught for the first six years he then came under the tutelage of Steve Palmer, a musician he holds in highest regard.

Later he put himself first through a popular music course, then Birmingham Conservatoire jazz course while working in construction full time. At the Conservatoire he studied under Tony Levin, Gene Calderazzo, Jeff Williams and Malcolm Garrett. Further tuition came from Hans Koller (Composition), Mike Williams (Musicianship) and Jeremy Price (Head of Jazz).

As a member of Lluis Mather’s Quartet he played a part in winning the prestigious Dave Holland Award. Jim now runs auditions at Birmingham Conservatoire and organises workshops. He has worked with Cheltenham Jazz Festival for the past seven years running sessions with Conservatoire students and world renowned jazz musicians. He has also run auditions in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

In 2010 he toured with Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson, John Brierly and Robin Finker performing original compositions as a quartet caled Construction. Joined by Tim Harries on bass they recorded their album Centreline Theory in October 2014. The album is currently available.

Busy was a word I used. Jim is an active member of no less than 20 ensembles. He tours extensively throughout the UK and Europe playing major venues and festivals. He has toured with Dave Sinclair of the band Caravan and in 2015 undertook a major European tour with singer Katie Melua.

I found our conversation so packed with enthusiasm for all he does quite exhausting. So, I was amazed to find that Jim practices between six to eight hours a day as time permits. To my comment, “that’s a day’s work,” Jim added, “I used to sit for longer each day on a digger when I worked in construction; drumming is a pleasure.”

  • James Bashford is endorsed by Canopus drums Tokyo.

Take Five

Jim recommends the following 5-a-day:

Steve Lehman Octet Mise En Abime (Pi Recordings). Personnel: Steve Lehman: alto saxophone, electronics; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone; Tim Albright: trombone; Chris Dingman: vibraphone; Jose Davila: tuba; Drew Gress: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Dan Weiss Tintal Drumset Solo (Chhandayan Production). Personnel: Dan Weiss: drum set, voice; Miles Okazaki: guitar.

Dead Man’s Shoes (film 2004): Written and directed by Shane Meadows. A psychological thriller film shot in three weeks.

The Deer Hunter (film 1978): Michael Chimino’s classic and controversial Vietnam War film which won five Academy Awards.

Wing Chun Kung Fu : A concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self defence specialising in close range.

Photo and words © Garry Corbett

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