Home » Jazz Musicians » Jim Funnell

Jim Funnell

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…)


Industry Awards:
- Révélation Jazz Magazine for duo album "Woandering" with saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa (2017)
- 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:
- Berklee College of Music Professional Writing Division Wayne Shorter Award (Boston, 2007)
- Berklee College of Music Professional Writing Division Arif Mardin Award (Boston, 2006)
- Berklee College of Music Piano Department Achievement Award (Boston, 2006)
- Berklee College of Music Piano Department Chair Award (Boston, 2005)
- Berklee College of Music Full Tuition Scholarship (American School of Modern Music, Boulogne-Billancourt, 2003)


- Nord Electro 4D Semi Weighted Waterfall SW61 Keyboard
- microKORG XL Synthesizer/Vocoder
- Roland RD-300SX Digital Stage Piano
- Roland KC-350 4-Ch Mixing Keyboard Amplifier


“… on this record (“Woandering”), the piano is hardly ever content with merely accompanying, and the exercise of improvising is brought to a level of language and mutual listening on which boredom not once arises…”
- Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine (August 2017)

“This arrangement of Michael Jackson’s hyper-emotional ballad [ She's Out of My Life ] (“Off the Wall,” 1979) won't possibly leave you indifferent.”
- Jazz Magazine's “playlist” article (July 2017)

"Autumn Leaves [...] began with a solo performance of Funnell on keyboard who was joined by Horii on cajon and the magic of their music slowly took over the venue

Read more

Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


2007 - present
• freelance private instruction (piano, improvisation, music theory/composition, guitar)
2008 - 2009
• jazz piano and ensemble teacher, Conservatoire Municipal de Musique et de Danse (Mennecy, France)
2007 - 2008
• piano teacher (jazz and classical), Institut de Culture Musicale (Paris, France)

Clinic/Workshop Information

• jazz piano masterclass, Koyo Conservatory (Kobe, Japan)
• jazz masterclass (rhythm section), Euro Institute for Music and Arts (Hamrun, Malta)
• improvisation workshop, Conservatoire Municipal de Musique et de Danse (Mennecy, France)
• "Stylistic Interpretation" and "Musical Improvisation" workshops, Unidad Académica de Música de la UAZ (Zacatecas, México) & Escuela de Música aRtes Revueltas (Cholula, México)
• jazz piano masterclass, Foxborough High School (Foxborough, MA, USA)
• "Basic Musical Improvisation" workshop, Unidad Académica de Música de la UAZ (Zacatecas, México)
• latin music workshop, Booker T

Read more

Concert Schedule

Oct 18 Wed

2000 JPY

Oct 22 Sun

Nov 14 Tue
iF Jazz Cafe
Budapest, Hungary

Nov 15 Wed
Bratislava, Slovakia

Dec 2 Sat
Philly Joe's
Tallinn, Estonia

Jan 18 Thu
Kortrijk, Belgium

Feb 28 Wed


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Live in Japan

Self Produced






Philippe Lopes de Sa Duo / Freedom Jazz Zone



AfuriKo / Funnelljazz


Spirit of the Snail

Jim Funnell / Funnelljazz


On the Far Side

AfuriKo / F-IRE



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.