James Waterman (he/him/his) is a multifaceted percussionist, composer, songwriter, and teaching artist based in Los Angeles. James is devoted to the exploration of all areas of percussion and has extensively studied Western Classical solo repertoire, orchestral percussion, Arabic drumming, Trinidadian Steel Drums, jazz vibraphone, Cuban and Haitian folkloric percussion, drum set, Indian tabla and tala systems, and Brazilian percussion. He also has traveled to Ghana where he studied gyil (Ghanaian xylophone) with master musician Bernard Woma, Ashanti Kete drumming, and Ewe drumming and dancing.
James has regularly collaborated with prominent ensembles and organizations including Bridge to Everywhere, four larks, and Dhara, and has performed and premiered new works at venues such as SFJAZZ, PASIC, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, The Getty Villa, REDCAT, and the NAMM Show.
James’s original 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.
As an arts educator, James has presented lectures on Ghanaian music and drumming, world music, percussion, and music pedagogy at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), CalArts, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and Glendale Community College. He is currently the Program Manager for the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), overseeing free art programs for thousands of youth participants in Los Angeles County.