New York-based Anglo-French pianist and composer Jim Funnell started leading his own trio in his early teens, performing at jazz clubs by the time he was in high school. Dedicating himself to the study of both classical and jazz piano, he was awarded a full tuition scholarship from Berklee College of Music, where he was exposed to a diversity of styles and cultures. At Berklee, in addition to studying with jazz luminaries such as Danilo Pérez, Joanne Brackeen, Laszlo Gardony, David Fiuczynski, Joe Lovano, and George Garzone, Jim had the opportunity to perform with Dave Douglas, Marcus Miller, Meshell Ndgeocello, and Yellowjackets members Russell Ferrante and Marcus Baylor. Upon graduation, he traveled to Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, soaking up Latin America’s folklore and Afro-Latin rhythms. These early experiences helped shape both his musical language and purpose of inspiring and encouraging uniqueness in others.
Jim Funnell has released five albums as a leader/co-leader of both his own band “Word Out” (postmodern jazz) and AfuriKo (African infused jazz duo with percussionist Akiko Horii). Drawing from diverse influences from around the world in a spirit of respect and celebration, he has notably garnered reviews from All About Jazz, London Jazz News, and Jazz Magazine. His colorful approach to writing music earned him the Composition Prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris (2011) as well as SACEM’s “Aide à l’autoproduction” (funding for self-produced albums provided by the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers of Music).
Constantly taking his music on the road, Jim has performed at numerous venues across seventeen countries (in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa) and festivals such as the London Jazz Festival, Balkan Trafic! (Brussels), Jazz a la Calle (Uruguay), Kathmandu Jazz Festival, Kanazawa Jazz Street (Japan), JazzQ (St. Petersburg), Malta Jazz Festival, Jazz en Touraine, Festival Cinéma d’Alès Itinérances, Festival des Musiques Sacrées de Paris (France), and Central Park SummerStage (New York). As a sideman, he has played and recorded with artists from across a wide musical spectrum (David Fiuczynski, New York Gypsy All Stars, Chico Freeman, Ravy Magnifique, Tiger Okoshi, Philippe Lopes de Sa, …)
Jim teaches both privately and in workshop/masterclass settings (BRICKS Music Salon in Tokyo, Cardiff University School of Music in Wales, Improphile/Jazz de Mars in France, Koyo Conservatory in Kobe, Euro Institute of Music and Arts in Malta…) He was nominated Jazz Piano Teacher of the Year for 2019 at Lessonface.com.