James Chance and The Contortions was one of the original punk jazz groups of the New York No Wave scene, led by saxophonist James Chance, aka James White. The Contortions were first recorded as one of the four East Village bands featured on Brian Eno's 1978 compilation No New York. The following year, two albums were issued almost simultaneously on the ZE label, ''Buy the Contortions and ''Off White ( released under the moniker James White and the Blacks). The same line-up recorded both records, although no one aside from Chance appears or is credited on the jacket of the Buy album. Following Chance and manager Anya Phillips' acrimonious break with many of the original Contortions, the line-up changed frequently. Original Contortions guitarist Pat Place went on to found the group the Bush Tetras. Guitarist Jody Harris formed neo-surf combo the Raybeats with Don Christensen, George Scott III and Pat Irwin. Keyboardist Adele Bertei formed the Bloods. In 1979 George Scott toured with John Cale as documented on the album Sabotage Live. Some of the African-American band members of "the Blacks," notably Joseph Bowie, later separated from Chance and formed the band defunkt.


The Contortions have existed as three different line-ups.

The first line-up included James Chance, Anne DeLeon, James Nares, Pat Place, Adele Bertei, Reck and Chiko Hige.

The second line-up was included James Chance, Jody Harris, Pat Place, Adele Bertei, George Scott and Donnie Christensen. This line-up also recorded as James White and The Blacks.

The third and final line-up included James Chance, Kristian Hoffman, Bradley Field and Steve Kramer.

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