Jim started classical piano lessons from a young age, although as time progressed and having always had an ability to improvise and compose his own tunes and a burgeoning interest in rock music, he found it difficult to adhere to the classical piano ethos. It was only around the age of 18, that Jim decided he wanted to study music more seriously and devoted a lot more time to formal studying of the classics, immersing himself in the music of composers such as Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Bartok.
The partnership of improvisation allied to classical technique came to fruition when Jim enrolled on a music degree at Dartington College of Arts and was offered the chance to study jazz piano. As well as jazz performance, Jim also studied, amongst many diverse subjects, composition, twentieth century classical music and the Balinese Gamelan.
Since moving to Bristol in 1991 to establish a career as a performer and composer, Jim has become recognised as an exciting, versatile and engaging piano player. He has often been the pianist of choice to accompany some of the UK’s biggest jazz names at numerous venues and festivals up and down the country as well as long standing engagements in the bands of two stalwarts of the Bristol scene, Andy Hague and Kevin Figes with whom he has extensively toured and recorded.
As a bandleader and composer past work has included ‘Latin Perspective’, a sextet reflecting Jim’s affinity with Latin jazz/Salsa music (a music that frequently imbues his playing and compositions) and Septimbre, a septet showcasing his intricate compositions and featured on his ASC records release ‘Peaks and Troughs‘ (together with original quartet pieces featuring special guest Andy Sheppard). Jim’s arranging skills and diverse influences were also in evidence with commissions for the contemporary/crossover “Elektrostatic” concerts at Bristol’s Colston Hall collaborating with the Emerald Ensemble and producing works that contained both classical and jazz elements. He also co-led and composed for acclaimed contemporary big band ‘Resonation’ alongside saxophonist Kevin Figes and bassist Jeff Spencer.
For some years Jim put his own creative projects on the back burner, fundraising and undertaking a home education program for his two severely autistic sons. A firm believer that ‘life stories’ enrich the narrative behind the creative process, the sound worlds within Jim’s playing and compositions have to some extent become infiltrated with the richness of the challenges thrown up by the beauty and chaos inherent in this perplexing condition. He hopes to write a book about his experiences in the near future.
For the last few years Blomfield has concentrated on the trio format, enlisting the versatile talents of Roshan ‘Tosh’ Wijetunge on bass and Mark Whitlam on drums. The aim of the trio was to take the intricacies and complexities inherent in the compositions of Blomfield’s larger scale ensembles and realise them in the more intimate setting of the trio whilst also maintaining a level of freedom and organic interplay facilitated by the smaller group format. Regular rehearsing refined the group’s sound and acclaimed live performances gradually saw them play and develop original material culminating in the release of the trio’s 2013 debut album ‘Wave Forms and Sea Changes’ (Pig Records) which was met with considerable critical acclaim. The trio are soon to release their second CD which was recorded at Real World Studios.