Anglo-French pianist and composer Jim Funnell started leading his own band 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. Jim then decided to travel to Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, soaking up Latin America’s folklore and Afro-Latin rhythms.
Since then, he has launched a prolific recording career: five albums as a leader/co-leader of both his own group “Word Out” (modern jazz combo with groove and world tinges) and AfuriKo (African infused jazz duo with percussionist Akiko Horii) have already been released to this day. Jim’s colorful and well-rounded compositional style earned him the Composition Prize in 2011 at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris. In 2017, Jazz Magazine (France) featured Woandering, a duo record with saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa, as a “Révélation !” and included Jim’s arrangement of She’s Out of My Life (Michael Jackson) on the editorial board’s playlist.
A versatile musician, Jim has played and recorded with artists from across a wide musical spectrum such as David Fiuczynski, New York Gypsy All Stars, Chico Freeman, Ravy Magnifique, Tiger Okoshi, Benjamin de Roubaix, Flox, and, in his own band, bassist Mátyás Szandai, drummers Jeff Boudreaux or John Betsch, and harpist Isabelle Olivier. He has performed at numerous venues across sixteen countries (in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa) and festivals such as the London Jazz Festival, Balkan Trafic! (Brussels), 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).
Jim is also active as an educator, teaching 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…)