Composer and Guitarist Jim Scully recalls his earliest exposure to music - his grandfather Carmen Caputo playing jazz standards and TV theme songs by ear at the piano. "He had a great ear, and tons of knowledge about harmony and melody. When I was old enough to really listen to him, I learned a lot."
Scully started playing the guitar at age eleven and entered college at CSU Bakersfield in the fall of 1991 to study music. He followed his heart - focusing on jazz guitar performance and composition. As an undergrad, his works were performed throughout California by jazz groups featuring students in the CSUB jazz program, helping him win composition awards presented by the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival and the Bakersfield Symphony. "I was fortunate to be at CSUB during an especially exciting time. I was able to perform regularly with stellar student colleagues who pushed me to be smarter, better and work harder at my craft. Making music with my peers - trumpeter Kris Tiner, pianist Dennis Hamm, and drummer Kyle Burnham - among others - helped shape me musically.
Scully began graduate studies in jazz composition with acclaimed pianists Billy Childs and Kei Akagi at University of California, Irvine where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Music in 2002. "Kei was a joy to work with. He was always supportive, and his extraordinary skill always reminded you that there was much work to do. You wanted to get better to show him you were worth his considerable effort."
"My most lasting memory of UCI might be sitting at the piano and playing my piece Bouncing About for violin and piano during composition seminar as a four-hand duet with Billy Childs. It was fun to talk music with both he and Kei - they were so generous with their knowledge."
In the Spring of 2003, Scully landed back in Bakersfield as a lecturer, in Theory, Jazz, Technology and Guitar at CSUB. Since his appointment, he has served as Director of the Jazz Ensembles, the Guitar Ensemble, Co-coordinator of the Music Program, Coordinator of Entrance Auditions, and most recently was appointed Director of the Bakersfield Jazz Festival. In its 32nd year, the BJF is a 2-day celebration of jazz, scholarship, and community. The event, held on the campus of CSU Bakersfield, raises over $20,000 in scholarships each year.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Scully has kept busy as a composer. He is an ASCAPlus Award winner, has received multiple grants from the American Composers Forum and the University Research Council of CSU Bakersfield and has had works commissioned by Trio Céleste, Rachel Arnold and Ashley Addington, and Dr. Keith Calmes. His pieces have been performed around the US at concerts, recitals, master classes and various conferences. Recordings of his works are commercially available on the Beauport Classical, Navona, CSUB Jazz, and KeithCalmes Music record labels and his scores are available on this website via his publishing company Nested Triplets Music.
Jim currently lives in Bakersfield, California with his wife and vocalist Jennifer Neil and their three sons Aidan, Maxwell and Dylan.