James Buckley has been playing upright bass since the age of 10, and playing professionally in the Twin Cities since spring of 1999. He has been a part of dozens of ensembles, consisting of many genres, as a leader/organizer, curator, composer, and bassist. Accompanied in a trio setting by pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer J.T. Bates, James displays his considerable chops as a bassist, soloist, and composer. Being a recognized and in demand talent in the Twin Cities, James has gotten to play with many groups, including The Pines (Redhouse Records), Alicia Wiley, Americana Singer-songwriter Stuart D' Rozario, the Emmy award winning, and Universal Records recording artists, The Blenders.
In ‘99, James started a band called Poor Line Condition, which became known as one of the most innovative attempts at live-instrument electronic music in the twin cities to date, performing with several international musicians, such as Mouse on Mars and Benoit Delbecq. Robert Skoro, of Mason Jennings fame, hired James to play bass in his singer /songwriter project on Yep Rock records, produced by famous producer Brian Deck. They toured nationally and put out a full-length release on Yep Rock records. James also had the opportunity to play bass in the First Avenue main room with Daniel Johnston as a result of his work with Robert Skoro. Mystery Palace, who was invited to perform 2 nights at The Stone, a club curated by renowned jazz and experimental artist, John Zorn, February of 2009.
It was only after starting his own jazz trio, for which he organize concerts, and develop and write original material, that he began to be recognized as a force in the local jazz community. James Buckley Trio has been a band for 3 1/2 years. They are a jazz band that plays primarily original compositions. James plays upright bass in this band, as well as writes all the music. One of the trio’s more notable performances was their CD release show at the Dakota, in celebration of their first release, Stitches, in fall of 2007. The attendance was exceptional; especially considering this was a self-released album. In February 2008, they had the privilege of performing on a bill with Happy Apple at the Cedar Cultural Center. Happy Apple features David King, who is best known for his work as a drummer and composer of the jazz group, The Bad Plus.
JT Bates can be seen touring Europe regularly with jazz groups Fat Kid Wednesdays, Francois Corneloup's "Next", and Michel Portal, appearing around the US in a folk setting with Greg Brown, The Pines, Bo Ramsey, touring and recording with the celebrated underground MC "Eyedea", consistently inspires him to the best of his abilities make the applicable sound and texture choices for each experience. JT can also be heard semi-regularly on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion", as well as on multiple releases on Minnesota's Red House Records. JT is a member of Alpha Consumer, James Buckley Trio, Anthony Cox's Regional Jazz Trio, and Sister Shaw.
Bryan Nichols is a Minneapolis-based pianist and composer, working primarily in jazz and instrumental music. He returned to the Twin Cities in 2005 after four busy years in Chicago where he played with jazz heavyweights like Corey Wilkes,Nicole Mitchell, Ernest Dawkins, Von Freeman and Hamid Drake. Since returning to Minneapolis, he leads and composes for his own trio, his quartet/quintet and his large group, We Are Many. An in-demand freelancer, he also plays regularly with Gang Font, Kelly Rossum Quartet, James Buckley Trio, Zacc Harris Quartet and Lambeau Magic. He teaches jazz piano at MacPhail Center for Music and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.