A native of the Boston area, bassist John Funkhouser studied classical piano from the age of seven, and classical bass from age nine. He majored in music theory 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 four years living in New York City, John again returned to Boston in 2000 to raise a family, perform, and teach at Berklee College of Music.
Funkhouser takes an active interest in a wide spectrum of music, including all kinds of jazz, from avant-garde to straight ahead to New Orleans Jazz, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music, folk music of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, American popular music, including funk, rock, blues, bluegrass, and hiphop, Classical from Gregorian chant to 21st century music, Hindustani Classical music of North India, Balinese and Javanese Gamelan, and all kinds of hybrids between these various traditions.
Since returning to Boston, Funkhouser has been in demand as a jazz bassist, participating in an array of musical projects with the areaâ€™s most accomplished and creative musicians. He has shared the stage with Luciana Souza, Yoron Israel, Laszlo Gardony, Ron Savage, Tierney Sutton, Stan Strickland, Bob Gulotti, Rick Peckham, Phil Grenadier, Brad Hatfield, Tim Ray, Jeff Galindo, Joe Mulholland, Pierre Hurel, twelve-year-old piano prodigy Matt Savage, Patrice Williamson, John McNeil, Tim Miller, Bertram Lehman, and Mark Harvey’s Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. Along with Ran Blake, Herb Pomeroy and John Harbison, he was a featured soloist with the MIT Wind Ensembleâ€™s world premier of Mark Harveyâ€™s magnum opus, â€śBeyond.â€ť Funkhouser returned to his classical roots in 2003, joining the bass section of the New England Philharmonic under conductor Richard Pittman. The orchestra specializes in modern music, performing world premiers and 20th/21st Century music, as well as the standard Classic and Romantic repertoire. Funkhouser shared the stage with pianist Stephen Drury Funkhouser is also becoming known in the Bostonâ€™s Afro-Cuban jazz scene, and has been performing with some of Bostonâ€™s top Afro-Cuban musicians, including Leo Blanco, Francisco Mela, Pablo Bencid, Steve Langone, and Rebecca Cline.
As the leader of his band FunkHouse 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 (as leader and headliner), and many other music festivals. He has played at the Blue Note Jazz Club, Birdland, in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and venues in Chicago, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Denver, Seattle, and dozens of other US cities. John has performed abroad in such diverse locations as Paris, Toulon, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Montreal. He appeared with Matt Savage on ABCâ€™s â€ś20/20â€ť and twice on NBCâ€™s â€śToday Show.â€ť
Funkhouserâ€™s discography includes CDs with James Merendaâ€™s Masked Marvels, Pierre Hurel, Laura Allen, Philippe Cretien, Willie Myette, Thomas Luescher, Dave Scott, Molly Flannery, several CDs with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, four CDs with Matt Savage, and two CDs as leader of his band FunkHouse.