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.
Somewhat a specialist in Latin and Salsa piano styles, his playing in this genre is held in high regard and often imbues his playing style in general. Jim is a member of 18 piece ‘Dockside Latin Orchestra’ as well as regular appearances with Cuban trumpeter Michel Padron in various Latin and Latin jazz projects including the Bristol Salsa Orchestra.
As a bandleader and composer past work has included Septimbre, a septet showcasing his intricate compositions and featured on 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.
In recent years Jim has concentrated on the trio format, with long term collaborations with the versatile bassist and producer Roshan ‘Tosh’ Wijetunge and the much in demand Mark Whitlam on drums. The trio’s debut album ‘Wave Forms and Sea Changes’ (Pig Records) was met with considerable critical acclaim. The trio’s second album, ‘Strange Beauty (Every Way Ok)’ (also on Pig Records) is their latest release and was recorded at Real World Studios.
“Heard in full flow, pianist Blomfield sounds as fully formed as any of his better-known UK peers..." (Phil Johnson – The Independent)