Multi-woodwind specialist James Pisano’s numerous invitations as a performer and teacher have taken him across the United States, as well as Europe and South Africa. Pisano has shared the stage as a soloist with many jazz luminaries, such as Phil Woods, Frank Foster, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, James Moody, Hank Jones, Randy Brecker, Terrell Stafford, The Lionel Hampton Big Band, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Artie Shaw Band, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, and the Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band, among many others. Currently, Pisano maintains an active performance schedule — he recently formed an organ jazz group called Organique (saxophone, Hammond organ, guitar, and drums) that is dedicated to performing, composing, and recording works for this instrumentation. The group gives numerous performances and clinics throughout the region.  Fall 2021 he was selected by audition to be part of Riff Generation, a Kansas City based jazz ensemble that performs new music imbued with the improvisational sound and spirit of Kansas City.  This ensemble is part of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

 He has been member of the saxophone section of the Jazz Heritage Orchestra (Cleveland, Ohio) since 2001. In this capacity he serves as lead alto and tenor saxophone soloist, and has collaborated with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalists Vanessa Rubin and Nancy Wilson, as well as NEA Jazz Masters Benny Golson and Clark Terry. In May and June of 2015, he toured Brazil and performed throughout the São Paulo region and presented master classes at Federal University of Uberlândia and the University of Campinas.

He has appeared as a sideman on more than 10 CDs and has had many of his own compositions and arrangements recorded and performed. John Barron states in All About Jazz “...Gisbert and Pisano contribute hard-driving solos throughout, both leaning towards an aggressive approach with dazzling technique and soulful ideas.” In his review, Adam Greenberg from All Music Guide says, “Dry lets Jim Pisano show what he can do with the sax on his solos, and it's a fine thing he can do, no less.” 

James Pisano currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Ensembles at Wichita State University, in Wichita, Kansas. In this capacity, he leads Jazz Arts Ensemble I and Jazz Combos, teaches Jazz Improvisation and is the Professor of Jazz and Concert Saxophone. Pisano also directs the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, which is an auditioned high school honor jazz band ensemble that has been in existence for over 30 years. Prior to his appointment to Wichita state University, Pisano was on faculty at Bethel College from 2006 to 2018. Additionally, he served as Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton School of Music. 

As a clarinetist, Pisano has performed in the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as the Miami City Ballet and the Florida Philharmonic. He has served in the Wichita Grand Opera orchestra in the position of clarinet/bass clarinet since the company’s premiere performances, in 2001, with Maestros Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.  Additionally, he performs in the woodwind section of Music Theatre Wichita, an internationally renowned theater company that brings professionals from Broadway and Hollywood to perform in Wichita.

James Pisano holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Music degree from the University of Miami, both in clarinet performance. While studying at the U of M, he was a member and soloist with the award-winning Concert Jazz Band. Currently he is completing his doctorate in jazz saxophone from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is working toward the completion of his dissertation entitled, Saxophone Performance Practice in a Jazz Organ Context: An Analysis of Selected Saxophone Solos. Some of his recent primary teachers include Chip Stevens, Chip McNeill, and Debra Richtmeyer.

Pisano is sought after as an adjudicator and clinician across the nation. Most recently, he served as guest jazz artist/clinician for the Mineral Area Technical College Jazz Festival, the Southeast Missouri State Clark Terry Jazz Festival, the Northeastern State Green Country Jazz Festival, the Oklahoma State University Jazz Festival, and the University of Wyoming Jazz Festival, South Dakota All State, and at numerous institutions of higher learning across the nation. He has performed at the international Jazz Educator’s Conference in New Orleans and Dallas. He has also served as a clinician for district and state jazz festivals numerous times. He is a member of the Kansas Music Educators Association and the Jazz Educator’s Network.