One of the central figures of the No Wave movement of the late '70s, James Chance & the Contortions formed in New York City in 1977. They were led by vocalist/saxophonist
. After relocating to the Big Apple to play free jazz, he fell in with the city's avant-garde community; upon adopting the surname
, and drummer Don Christiansen.
After winning acclaim and notoriety for their wild, often combative live shows (the aggressive, nihilistic Chance
often picked fistfights with audience members), the Contortions
entered the studio with producer Brian Eno
to record four tracks for the No New York
compilation. After cutting enough material for an LP, 1979's Buy the Contortions
, the group crashed along with the No Wave scene; as James White
soon resurfaced fronting the Blacks
, a bizarre disco outfit comprised of most of the Contortions
alumni, albeit with the notable exception of Bertei
, and released Off White. In 1982, the highly regarded Sax Maniac album was released on Chris Stein's short-lived Animal label. Unfortunately, the label disappeared quickly taking the album along with it. Chance
recorded his final studio project Flaming Demonics in 1983, again for ZE, under the James White
seemed to have vanished in the next decade, but occasionally his original albums or live recordings would surface, only to quickly disappear. In 2003, the small indie label Tiger Style reissued all the official material Chance
/White recorded, along with a few ultra-rare tracks, on the three-disc set Irresistible Impulse. The reissue coincided with Chance's return to playing live again, albeit sporadically. The following year, Tiger Style released a two disc compilation, Sax Education, containing his "greatest hits" with a second disc of a previously unreleased live performance for Radio Holland from 1981.