James’ musician life began as a working saxophone player in Melbourne. He studied and played jazz with some of the city’s finest, before starting regular work with many leading Australian rock bands of the 1980s.
James worked and toured with Jo Camilleri, Kate Ceberano, Kids In The Kitchen, The Dugites, Pseudo Echo, Steve Cummings, Richard Clapton, Iva Davies and many more.
He then went on to join Models with whom he recorded two platinum albums, had two number one singles and toured Australia, the United States and Europe.
When Models disbanded he stayed with singer Sean Kelly and helped form Absent Friends. Their recording of I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You reached top 5 and the band evolved to become the Wendy Matthews Band. James worked with Wendy on her first two albums.
In recent years, he has focused on media but did find time to perform with his own quartet, returning to his first love of jazz. The James Valentine Quartet had a Tuesday residency for four years, recorded three CDs and was a regular on the Australian jazz club and festival scene.
The saxophone is currently in its case, but will no doubt, find its way out again soon.