Jim Piela was born and raised in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and was active in music and the creative arts from a very young age. Throughout college and high school, Jim performed in a myriad of different musical styles, including jazz, funk, rock, Latin, reggae, singer/songwriter, and classical. In high school, he performed in the Award-winning Sun Prairie Jazz 1, placing 3rd at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York, 2004. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Piela received several scholarships for music performance, and went on a European tour with the jazz bands. Piela completed a degree in Music Performance in 2008 with honors.
Piela first started his professional career in music in La Crosse, Wisconsin. While there, he started his own jazz group, the Jim Piela quartet, for which he composed heavily. He also worked as the Musical Director for the funk group Three Beers ‘til Dubuque, as well as a continued involvement with several different local bands performing and recording in many different styles. Major performances include Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Summerfest (’08-’10) and State Fair (’08-’11), Rockford, Illinois’ On the Waterfront festival (’09,’10), and the Jazz Picnic (’10, ’11) and New Music Festival (’10, ’11) in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Alongside performing, Piela is a respected teacher in the La Crosse area, with a private studio of 15 students, and appearances as a guest soloist and clinician at every level of music education, from first year students to college big bands. During the ’10-’11 school year, he worked as a substitute lesson teacher at St. Mary’s university in Winona, Minnesota, had a guest soloist appearance with the Luther College big band in Decorah, Iowa, and directed a show choir band at La Crosse Central High School.
Jim currently resides in the New York area.
- JPQ @ tRN, Jim Piela Quartet (2011)
- Space Cadet, Jim Piela Quartet (2011)
- Home Brew, T.U.G.G. (2011)
- Come Sunrise, T.U.G.G. (2010)
- Slow Chill, T.U.G.G. (2009)
- Speak Up, Shoeless Revolution (2008)