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James Arben is an award-winning, multi genre, multi-instrumentalist and has worked on many varied projects and bands. 


Born in central London, his early musical education was under the guidance of the late, great Don Rendell for 12 years. His passion for music led him to pursue his career mainly as a jazz saxophonist, but he also studied oboe and attained a master's in classical music. He also sings and plays flute, clarinet, and piano.

He subsequently attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and earned a master's in performance, composition, and arranging, studying with Pete Churchill, Tim Garland, and Scott Stroman.


James won an Archer's Scholarship Award for two years running at Trinity College of Music, gaining a seat in the Bobby Lamb Big Band. Additionally, he sought further inspiration in New York, where he studied with Ralph Alessi and saxophonist Bob Mintzer.

James Arben's musical career spans an extensive and diverse range of collaborations and performances. For the last 12 years James has been the Musical Director for the seminal Ethiopian musician Dr Mulatu Astake and this role has given him many opportunities to perform at a high level all over the world. 

His passion is for music and this has also led him to work with a large number of diverse artists including The Heliocentrics, the late, great percussionist Robin Jones, Robert Plant, The O Jays, Molotov JukeBox, Family Atlantica, The Hackney Colliery Band, The London Vocal Project, Collocuter, The London Concert Choir as a guest soloist, Down to the Bone, Mary Wilson (the Supremes), Brazillian artist Criolo, The Gaslamp Killer, Alex Kapranos, The Black Jesus Experience, Talib Kweli, Steve Waterman, David Okumu, Seb Rochford, Tom Herbert, Steve Nieve, Camille O’Sullivan, Jolie Holland, Terry Edwards , Roy Hemmings (the Drifters), The Spike Orchestra, , Sam Amidon and Jason Lindner.


James has recorded as a session player for producers Tony Visconti, Nathan Jenkins (Bullion) and David Axlerod. He is credited on albums by the St Etienne, The Heliocentrics, The Kooks, Maxi Priest, Westerman, Ben Howard, Jim Stapley, Molotov JukeBox, Mulatu Astatke, Family Atlantica, Danny Keane, The Hackney Colliery Band, Down to the Bone and Jake Ferguson (The Brkn Record). 

James is available for online sessions. If you have a project in which you need soprano, alto, tenor or baritone saxophones, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, clarinet, keyboards or vocals then please get in contact at

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