Jimmy Earl (born 1957) is an American jazz musician and composer. He has released three studio albums and recorded extensively. He has toured the world with major artists. Since 2003, he has performed nightly on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Earl began classical guitar lessons at age 10. In 1972, he picked up an electric bass guitar for $15 at the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena, CA, where his family was living temporarily. In 1975–76, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1981, he studied briefly at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he sits on the board of visitors. He also studied with Charlie Banacos.
In 1986, Earl moved to New York City, where on the recommendation of his friend Steve Hunt, he joined the Jazz Explosion. Within this organization, he backed up: Gato Barbieri, Angela Bofill, Tom Browne, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Freddie Hubbard, Phyllis Hyman, Ramsey Lewis, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Stanley Turrentine. Here, he met his friend and mentor Stanley Clarke. In 1988, Earl relocated to Los Angeles, CA.
In 1990, he recorded on two albums of the Mark Varney Project. In 1993, Earl replaced John Patitucci in Chick Corea's Elektric Band, which immediately went on tour. In 1995, he recorded Jimmy Earl...[it] was followed, in 1997, by his second album Stratosphere, which features John Beasley, Daniele, Johnson, Forman, and Simon Phillips. Subsequently, on January 21, 2014, Severn released another album by Earl, Renewing Disguises.
In 1996, Tom Brechtlein recommended Earl as a replacement for Roscoe Beck in Robben Ford's band, The Blue Line, which was about to go on a bus tour of Europe. On returning, Ford started a new band, which began with a series of West Coast performances.
In late 2002, Jimmy Earl was invited to join a new band, Cleto and the Cletones, which had just been tapped to be the house band on the ABC late-night television program Jimmy Kimmel Live! Since the show began in January 2003, the band, led by Cleto Escobedo III, has performed at the El Capitan Theatre, in more than 2060 episodes.
After the show, and on weekends, Earl performs once or twice per month at the Baked Potato club in Studio City. From time to time, he appears with "king of the funky drums", Zigaboo Modeliste, and with salsa queen Cecilia Noël and the Wild Clams.Earl's association with the Wild Clams goes back to 1995, when he performed with them at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana. This concert ended "a 16-year cultural cold war", during which American musical groups were banned from Cuba.