A native of the Boston, MA area, John Funkhouser studied classical piano from the age of seven, and classical bass starting at age nine. He earned a B.A. in Musicology at Cornell University and returned to Boston to earn a Masters degree from New England Conservatory in jazz piano, bass and composition in 1995. After a year performing in Singapore and four years performing and teaching in New York City, John again returned to Boston in 2000 to raise a family, perform, and accept a job at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches ear training, piano, bass, harmony, and ensembles.
Funkhouser performs a wide spectrum of music, including all types of jazz, funk, rock, hiphop, Indian classical music, reggae and other world music, and Western classical music.
Funkhouser is in equal demand as a jazz bassist and pianist, and has participated in an array of musical projects with some of the world’s most accomplished and creative musicians. He has performed and/or recorded with such luminaries as Grammy winners Joe Lovano, Charles Neville, Steve Gadd, Abe Laboriel Sr., Luciana Souza, Mark Walker, and Max Weinberg, Grammy nominees Bobby Watson, Francisco Mela, and Tierney Sutton, Guggenheim fellows Rudresh Mahanthappa and Geri Allen, as well as South Indian percussion master Trichy Sankaran, Art Blakey alumnus Bill Pierce, Bill Evans alumnus Joe Hunt, Ellington alumnus Herb Pomeroy, Natraj, and Mark Harvey's Aardvark Jazz Orchestra.
Funkhouser has performed classical music with the Cornell University Glee Club, Newton Community Chorus, and the New England Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Richard Pittman. With the New England Philharmonic, Funkhouser shared the stage with pianist Stephen Drury, and was featured as section leader and as one of three soloists in Gunther Schuller’s 1991 Violin Concerto.
Funkhouser has also performed with some of Boston’s top World Musicians, including Leo Blanco, Francisco Mela, Pablo Bencid, Steve Langone, Rebecca Cline, and Natraj. Funkhouser currently leads Piandia, a duo specializing in Indian classical music, with tabla player Jerry Leake.
As the leader and pianist of the John Funkhouser Group, and as a sideman, Funkhouser has toured the US several times, performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh's Mellon Jazz Festival, Oklahoma City's Jazz In June, Boston’s Beantown Jazz Festival, and The Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN. He has played at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Birdland, and Dizzy’s in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Wang Center and the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, as well as top venues in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and dozens of other US cities. John has performed abroad in Paris, Toulon, Zurich, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Toronto, and Montreal. He has appeared with piano prodigy Matt Savage on NPR and on national television shows including ABC’s “20/20” and NBC’s “Today Show."
Funkhouser’s discography includes over 80 CDs and video projects, featuring him in various roles including leader, pianist, bassist, arranger, and producer, including five CDs as leader/pianist of the John Funkhouser Group, eight CDs with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, six CDs with Matt Savage, two CDs with Willie Myette’s Katahdin’s Edge, three CDs with the Pierre Hurel Trio, two CDs with Jerry Sabatini’s Sonic Explorers.