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Influenced by classic reggae, jazz and the music scene of London, he cites King Crimson, Fela Kuti and Duke Ellington as personal influences. In 1981 he started the band CARMEL with his cousin Gerry Darby and friend Carmel McCourt.

The band provided Jim with access to the music world as well as success. He discovered his desire to produce, and realised it with the release of GOOD NEWS in 1991. His impact and involvement with the band involved co-writing many of the groups songs throughout their 18 years together and managing the band in the mid 80s.

Jim's interest in African music has continued to influence his work throughout his career. He studied Ghanaian drumming in the early 80s and the CARMEL back catalogue includes numerous tracks that both use and mix African rhythms, often featuring UK resident African percussionists.

Because of his natural ability to support a group as a bass player Jim has always attracted artists of unique insights and styles who look to him for support and inspiration.

In 2000 he collaborated and toured with dancer/performer/poet Benji Reid on the highly successful trilogy The Waiting Room.

In February 2004, Jim completed the soundtrack to Lemn Sissay's one man play 'Something Dark'. This received excellent reviews during it's UK tour, including Time Out pick of the week. For this piece Jim created a string quartet arrangement using bass, cello, viola and violin. He also got Lemn in the studio to record a poem set against congas and 2 electric basses.

Since 1997 Jim has collaborated with the France and Spain based artist Cameroonian Xumo Nounjio as part of Nzi Dada. The work aims to reflect their joint interest in ancient African tradition whilst at the same time modern practices. In 2001 they performed for the first time in the UK to a capacity crowd at the Contact Theatre and the Xtrax festival in Manchester. They went on to appear throughout the UK and internationally with an indoor show 'Optional Groove and Functional Music' and a specially commissioned outdoor show called Ritual Imaginaire. Since 1997 he has also worked with the playwright and poet Sonia Hughes; the visual live artist artist Qasim Riza Shaheen; Dutch painter/DJ/singer Wonder Allen Smith and the tap musician Imani Jendai.

In 2021 Jim was awarded a Ph D from the School of Social Work, Community and Care at the University of Central Lancashire for his research into traditional African art and aesthetics. His research methods included the psychosocial visual matrix method. He is currently developing a large-scale installation work called The Divination Palace. The piece is inspired by both Yoruba Ifa divination and Igbo architectural painting. It is planned to premier the work at the Manchester International Festival in 2023. For the piece Jim has assembled a team that includes his longtime collaborator Xumo Nounjio; T.V. and theatre director Charles Lauder; artist and academic Olu Taiwo; painter Josephe Cocles; and technical designer Andrew Crofts.

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