Tomoko Funaki was born in Japan into a musical family. Like her mother, a violinist for a symphony orchestra in Japan, Tomoko began as a classical musician studying violin with the Suzuki Method at the age of 4. By age 16, her musical interests broadened and she picked up the flute, her father’s instrument.
Tomoko moved to the United States to attend college and lived in New York and San Francisco, where she continued to perform and expose herself to a broad range of musical genres. It was during this time that she first discovered her passion for jazz.
After moving to San Francisco in 2002, she began studying upright bass and quickly immersed herself into the San Francisco jazz scene, studying and performing with luminaries including Ray Drummond, Rodney Whitaker, Rufus Reid, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Andrew Speight, Vince Lateano, Mark Levine, Donald “Duck” Bailey, Allan Harris and Denise Perrier. She has also been involved in jazz education programs such as ‘Stanford Jazz Workshop’ and SFSU ICA ‘The Generations Jazz Project’ in recent years.