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James Kylen

James drummingJames started playing music in December 1988, at the age of 5. It was that Christmas morning when he woke up to find an upright piano from Santa "under" the tree. Several years of piano lessons and countless hours tinkering away at the keys helped to cultivate James' knack for rhythm, melody and harmony. In addition to naturally learning quickly by ear, he was now able to read music. At the age of 10 in Panama City, Florida, he joined the Rosenwald Middle School band as a first-time percussionist. This would prove to be a major turning point in young James' life, as drums became his main instrument. The team aspect of a concert/marching band was very rewarding and James would excitedly practice rudiments and solos for competition in most of his free time. He attended Rutherford High School in Panama City, Florida, which was home to a regionally renowned band program. Two years as head of the mallet percussion section and two years as head of the percussion section as a whole was instrumental in developing James' leadership and teaching abilities. He was awarded many individual honors through middle school and high school for judged solo performances on xylophone, marimba and snare drum. During middle and high school James fell in love with rock music and learned to play the drum set, guitar and bass by playing along with his favorite albums. He spent the next 20 years drumming professionally in many different genres, including jazz, big-band swing, rock, funk, fusion, country, blues, hip-hop, experimental, classical, etc.. You can currently find him playing with the Aaron Burdett Band, Joshua Messick (national hammered dulcimer champion) and the Acoustic Storm, the BJ Leiderman Band (of NPR fame), and the Jeff Thompson Band, just to name a few. James is also in the middle of writing/recording his first solo album.