references and endorsements.
I am proud of the positive impact my work as a music educator and facilitator has had on many participants and collaborators over the years. Several have been kind enough to write endorsements of my work with them, which are collected here, grouped by project.
Glasgow University: The EPIC
Music in the University Participate Programme
James spearheaded a new participatory ensemble initiative for University of Glasgow - The Epic presents Big Band. His leadership of this project was perfectly balanced, it was welcoming and inclusive, at the same time as being fun, ambitious and challenging. James is a brilliant workshop leader, extremely professional and organised. He creates really excellent resources and clearly nurtures both his professional musician teams and workshop participants, creating mutual respect and shared vision. We will be repeating this project as it was so successful, attracting participants of all ages (from 16 upwards), backgrounds and levels. We look forward to working with him in the near future.
Saffron Centre for Young Musicians
Kate Nott, Head of Centre
James is a creative, inspiring and thoughtful teacher. His students are engaged, and learn thoroughly and quickly as he tailors his teaching to individuals' experience. I thoroughly recommend James' teaching, whether the subject is theory, musicianship or jazz.
Mackintosh Jazz Composers Ensemble
Matt Gough, Co-Founder & Director
I work with James Brady in The Mackintosh Jazz Composers Ensemble. This is a professional development project set out to encourage the creation of new compositions and enable those works to be presented in a nurturing environment for their composers to workshop with a seventeen-piece Jazz orchestra. Open to both experienced and novice composers. Since the beginning of this endeavour, James has been at the forefront of widening the community of the ensemble by actively encouraging both new instrumentalists and composers into the framework of what we do. As a brilliant trumpeter, composer and educator himself, James’s abilities shine through when within and also in front of the band. He navigates conducting the orchestra with great awareness for the music and compassion for his fellow musicians when they’re grappling with any new material. He offers clear direction for the work he presents and when playing other people’s compositions from within the band he is a very malleable member of the trumpet section, able to sit in any seat and delighted to craft performances that are stylistically multi-faceted to align with any artistic desire coming from the conducting podium. James is one of the more experienced writers to be a part of the ensemble and is benevolent with that experience, always willing to give good, constructive criticism to the less experienced composers whilst never endangering the notion of making those colleagues feel unwelcome or unworthy. It’s clear that his energy for this ensemble aligns with his passion for access to education in music across all ages and in both amateur and professional fields.
Dr Paul Edis, Director (former)
I have worked alongside James Brady on two separate occasions for two different organisations specialising in Jazz Education. Initially in 2018, with a group of young musicians aged between 13-18 for the Sage Gateshead, and subsequently in 2022 for the Jazz Coop in Newcastle, where we were working with amateur adult musicians of a mixed age range and abilities. I am happy to recommend James based on not only his prodigious skills as a musician and communicator, but also because of his conscientious approach to his work as a music educator, and the very serious care he invests in his music.
Orchestras For All
Emma Oliver-Trend, Artistic Director
James plays an important and highly-valued role at Orchestras for All. In supporting young people in music, James thoughtfully balances giving people space to create and express, but also giving them the support they may need when they need it. That level of support need fluctuates and James listens and observes with care and is able to respond to help young people bring their best and find value in their music. James has led inspiring and thought-provoking training with our orchestral tutor team, helping us to think deeply about our work but also ensuring that this is coupled with real practical solutions that work on the ground. His work here provided the perfect stretch for our team! James is a very valuable thought-partner when developing new ideas in music. He brings a range of knowledge, experience and perspectives and helps OFA build bespoke plans in its work in Music for Social Action. James also creates excellent large scale musical arrangements for OFA – demonstrating further his extensive knowledge and understanding of how inclusive, mixed-ability music can be created to maximise opportunities within the music, and enable music-making that is both rewarding in process – and sounds great too.
Glasgow University Big Band
Molly Ward, Vice-President
Being given the opportunity to work with James has been really rewarding for our band (GUBB) and these sessions have become our most well attended. We were very grateful that James agreed to come to our residential trip for the day, and with his direction, we were really able to improve our sound! Since working with James, our band has become more cohesive and motivated, and we look forward to continue our work with him!
East London Community Band
Suzanne Gorman, Chair
James designed and developed the jazz programme at East London Community Band which now thrives in three oversubscribed ensembles. James demonstrated creativity and vision in establishing this jazz offer from scratch, a feat that required not only musical expertise but also an ability to inspire community musicians. Lockdown hit our music-making community less than 18 months after James's arrival and his commitment to collaboration was a key part of ELCB thriving in a challenging year online. James engaged members creatively and was able to nurture musicianship via his 'Platform' sessions, and even first-time composers in the collaborative massed band piece that evolved out of these online sessions. His listening parties were also a significant part of the glue that helped our membership thrive at that time! In 'real life' our uniquely multi-generational organisation benefitted from James fostering an environment where musicians from diverse ages and backgrounds felt welcomed and confident to contribute to the jazz stream. Players new to learning by ear or improvising felt comfortable enough to perform in our public concerts – testament to a James's skill set.
James is an excellent tutor. He directed a community band I was part of and our improvement individually and as a whole band was tangible to the point that we achieved a two Gold awards at a national competition. He is patient, clear, organised and reliable. He is a highly knowledgeable and skilled jazz musician and is able to pass this along in an encouraging and inspiring style. He is also a very nice guy!
Byres Road Big Band
Paul Gardner, Chair
James has been guest Musical Director for Byres Road Big Band since 2022, taking band rehearsals when our MD Paul Towndrow is unavailable. BRBB is a community big band in the west end of Glasgow, running since 2007. James has proven himself adept at getting the most from the band at every rehearsal, no matter who turns up on the night. He has also facilitated links with other amateur musicians to provide band members with further opportunities to play and learn.
Professor of Jazz, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
James was an MMus student on our Jazz Programme at the Guildhall School, and I was his tutor in performance, composition and arranging. I have since followed his career with great interest. James makes things happen. He is personable, a highly skilled instrumentalist, a creative performer, an experienced (and award-winning) composer and arranger, and a respected ensemble leader. During his time at the Guildhall School he used his organisational and leadership skills to organise and direct many ensembles from quartets to jazz orchestras and has carried this into his professional work. He is a natural and respected leader, totally organised, authoritative and personable, and a good communicator. He has the right mix of ability, desire and personality to be both a successful professional performer and a teacher of students of all ages.
St Richard Reynolds Catholic College
Caroline Firman, Head of Music
Bringing James Brady in to spend time with our GCSE students was one of the best decisions I made - James has such a vast breadth of knowledge that he was able to connect with those composing in all styles of music (music tech using Logic, classical compositions, film scores, jazz...). He worked with every student with such care, consideration, dedication and focus in his approach that all our pupils were inspired. Thank you James!