James Chance and the Contortions is a musical group led by saxophonist and vocalist James Chance. They were part of the no wave music scene in New York City. Their first recording, credited solely as Contortions, was on the 1978 compilation, No New York, produced by Brian Eno. The following year, two albums were issued almost simultaneously on ZE Records; Buy and Off White under the moniker James White and the Blacks. The same musicians recorded both records, though none are credited on the album cover.
Original Contortions guitarist Pat Place went on to found the group Bush Tetras. Georges Scott played with Lydia Lunch and Michael Paumgarten in 8-Eyed Spy. Shortly thereafter, guitarist Jody Harris formed Raybeats with Don Christensen, George Scott III and Pat Irwin. Keyboardist Adele Bertei formed the Bloods, after which she released a solo record, Little Lives, in 1988. Some of the members of James White and the Blacks, notably Joseph Bowie, separated from Chance and formed the band Defunkt.
On November 30, 2010 James Chance, Pat Place, Don Christensen, Jody Harris, Adele Bertei, and Robert Aaron reunited as James Chance and the Contortions at Le Poisson Rouge for a single performance. Robert Aaron wasn't an original member but frequently collaborated with Chance. In 2016, Chance released his first single with his original Contortions band in nearly 30 years, entitled "Melt Yourself Down".