“Most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered.”
Rainer Maria Rilke’s description of the powerful effect of poetry resonates with Jim Funnell’s perception of jazz composition and improvisation as ideal vehicles for infinite shades of emotion. Jim’s love for sound parallels his fondness of the written word, and inspiration from literary sources often pervades his music.
In his teenage years, exposure to recordings by jazz piano masters such as Ahmad Jamal and Keith Jarrett encouraged Jim, from then on, to support his own vivid palette of tones and rhythms with a format of choice: the classic piano trio (on occasion augmented to a quartet or quintet). Since graduating from Berklee College of Music (where he studied on a full tuition scholarship under JoAnne Brackeen, Laszlo Gardony, Danilo Pérez, David Fiuczynski, Joe Lovano…), he has released two albums (Word Out and Spirit of the Snail) and won the Composition Prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris. Jim also co-founded AfuriKo, a colorful and atypical African infused jazz duo, with percussionist Akiko Horii. The unit has produced two albums since 2014 (On the Far Side and Style), both of which were chosen to receive full funding from SACEM (French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers).
Notable performances as a band leader/co-leader include venues and festivals such as Jazz Alley (Seoul), London Jazz Festival, Le Baiser Salé (Paris), Rockwood Music Hall (New York City), Theater Vrijburcht (Amsterdam), JazzLab (Hamburg, Germany), Kathmandu Jazz Festival (Nepal), Kanazawa Jazz Street (Japan), Jazz en Touraine (France), and Malta Jazz Festival. As a sideman, Jim has played and recorded with percussionist Marcelo Woloski (Snarky Puppy), saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa, singer-songwriter Benjamin de Roubaix, electro/nu-reggae artist Flox, and contemporary microtonal jazz-rock guitarist David Fiuczynski to name a few.
Jim is also active as an educator, teaching both privately (currently at Lessonface.com) and in workshop/masterclass settings (BRICKS Music Salon in Tokyo, Cardiff University School of Music in Wales, Improphile in France, Koyo Conservatory in Kobe, Euro Institute of Music and Arts in Malta…)
In addition to music, literature, and art, Jim is into nature, languages, anthropology and all things human, shamanism, Taoism, Zen, qigong, jogging, and wholesome food!