bio

Jim is a New York-based pianist/keyboardist and composer. He leads his own cross-cultural literature-inspirited jazz trio, Jim Funnell’s Word Out, with which he has notably released two albums, won the Composition Prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris, played and taught workshops in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Rhythm sections for the trio have included drummers Thibault Perriard, John Betsch, Jeff Boudreaux, Ryo Noritake, Dan Pugach, and bassists Oliver Degabriele, Mátyás Szandai, Takashi Sugawa.

He also co-leads AfuriKo, a Paris-born African infused jazz duo, with percussionist Akiko Horii. Together, they have released two albums since 2014, both of which were chosen to receive full funding by SACEM, the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers. They have toured extensively in Japan, the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Nepal, the United States, and collaborated with artists such as Bill Sims, Jr., Eddie Parker, Bruno Wilhelm, Hiroshi Fukutomi, and Chris Hayward.

Jim Funnell @ Jazzmandu (Kathmandu, NP) 2016-10-20 photo © Eric C. Shrestha
Jim Funnell @ Jazzmandu (Kathmandu, NP)
2016-10-20
photo © Eric C. Shrestha

After earning a music diploma (DEM) in classical piano from the Conservatoire in Evry (France), Anglo-French pianist and composer Jim Funnell was awarded a full tuition scholarship from Berklee College of Music (Boston), where he went on to study performance and jazz composition, graduating summa cum laude in 2007. At Berklee, professors Joanne Brackeen, Laszlo Gardony, Danilo Pérez, Mitch Haupers, David Fiuczynski, Greg Hopkins, Joe Lovano, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, George Garzone (to name a few…) influenced him tremendously. As a student performer, he shared the stage with Russell Ferrante and Marcus Baylor from jazz fusion quartet the Yellowjackets, bassists Meshell Ndegeocello and Marcus Miller, and trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas. Jim also performed and recorded with Fiuczynski’s KiF (KiF Express, 2008) and played with a quartet lead by Japanese trumpeter and Berklee faculty member Tiger Okoshi.

For a few years, Jim collaborated with fellow Berklee alum Perla Flores Martínez, with whom he formed a violin and piano duo (MUNDuO). While they were still students, they toured Mexico several times and gave concerts in the United States, Argentina, and France. Jim then moved to Paris in 2008, which gave him the opportunity to tour extensively as a sideman with musicians from the United Kingdom (guitarist Ant Law, nu-reggae artist Flox, Scottish saxophonist Fraser Campbell, Barak Schmool and his Afro Cuban band Méta Méta), France (saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa, Caribbean neo-soul singer/producer Sébastien Drumeaux, drummers Ravy Magnifique, Olivier Robin, and Franck Vaillant, bassist Gui Duvignau, vocalists Ory Minie and Anissá Bensalah, trombonist/composer Benjamin de Roubaix), Latin America (composer and poet Carlos Do Nascimento, Uruguayan saxophonist Florencia Gonzalez, Brazilian singer Cecília Leite) and the United States (saxophonist Chico Freeman, singer-songwriter Chelsea Sykes, vocalist Ursuline Kairson).

Besides, Jim formed Word Out, his own jazz trio, in 2008 and AfuriKo, a West African influenced world jazz duo co-lead with percussionist Akiko Horii, in 2010. For comprehensive information about both of these bands, please refer to their respective websites: http://funnelljazz.eu/word-out/ and http://www.afuriko.com/.

As an educator, Jim Funnell instructs privately, teaches small ensembles, and conducts workshops and master classes on jazz harmony and improvisation, mostly drawing examples from his own research and the music he composes.


Performance Highlights


(For performance highlights with Jim Funnell’s Word Out please refer to the word-out/highlights page on this website).

(For performance highlights with AfuriKo please refer to the band bio on AfuriKo’s website).


Teaching Highlights


(For teaching highlights with Jim Funnell’s Word Out please refer to the word-out/highlights page on this website).

(For teaching highlights with AfuriKo please refer to the band bio on AfuriKo’s website).


Awards


Industry Awards:

  • Full funding (“aide à l’autoproduction“) from French performing rights organization SACEM for the production of AfuriKo’s second album Style (2016)
  • Full funding (“aide à l’autoproduction“) from French performing rights organization SACEM for the production of AfuriKo’s debut album On the Far Side (2014)
  • Composition prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” with Jim Funnell’s Word Out (Paris, 2011)

Academic Awards:

Jazz Pianist & Composer