NICK has been invited to perform at the 2013 Paradise Valley Jazz Party, March 24th, 2013 in Scottsdale, AZ. Stay tuned for more details.
Catch NICK MANSON at the prestigious Telluride Jazz Celebration performing with flugelhornist, Dmitri Matheny and vocalist, Jackie Ryan - Two Nights/Four Shows! August 7th and 8th, 2010.
NICK MANSON Headlines the 11th Annual Chandler Jazz Festival Mainstage with the Festival All Stars - March 26th, 2010 8PM! Dmitri Matheny on Flugel Horn, Ashlin Parker on Trumpet, Charles McNeal on Alto Sax, Brice Winston on Tenor Sax, Jack Radavich on Bass & John Lewis on Drums. You won't want to miss this one time performance!
NICK MANSON TRIO to perform at the 10th Annual Chandler Jazz Festival Mainstage - April 3rd, 2009! The trio features fabulous, young Phoenix area musicians, Wes Anderson on Drums and John Sims on Bass.
NICK Interviewed by James Kass Nick talks about his career path, getting connected with other players, and being a musician in the Internet era.
NEW RELEASE - 06/01/08 MERCATOR
Keyboardist Nick Manson has spent a large portion of his career performing and recording music for studio productions, films, television and commercials. However he has always played jazz and during the past few years has dedicated himself to performing creative music. On Mercator, he teams up with the brilliant bassist John Patitucci, drummer Ian Froman and tenor and soprano-saxophonist Andy Suzuki. They perform five of Manson’s originals plus a song apiece by Suzuki and Patitucci. Alternating between piano and Fender Rhodes (sounding particularly individual on the latter), Manson leads the ensembles, plays stimulating backup behind Suzuki, and takes excellent solos. The music is impossible to classify as anything but modern jazz, not fitting into a historical style but swinging in its own way, even when the structures are complex. Suzuki is in top form, Patitucci’s playing is always full of surprises, and Froman is stimulating in support. This is 21st century jazz, more difficult to describe than to simply savor.
In Mercator, pianist/keyboardist Nick Manson has gathered a group of top musicians to record a CD commemorating Roby Duke, who died last year at 51.
Manson hails from Seattle and is now based in Phoenix. He is a talented jazz pianist and keyboardist, who is also a composer, arranger and producer Joining him on this CD are four players on whom singer/guitarist Duke had a great impact: John Patitucci on bass, Andy Suzuki on tenor and soprano saxes and Ian Froman on drums. The word "Mercator" comes from the name of the 14th Century Flemish geographer who devised a cylindrical map projection in which the meridians and parallels of latitude appear as lines crossing at right angles and in which areas appear greater farther from the equator.
As used, the title suggests Manson's purpose is to explore new frontiers. In the notes he says, the CD ... is the result of four journeyman jazz musicians willingness to allow seven newly penned compositions; never performed or rehearsed, take them a across a broad, emotional sonic spectrum, without any imposed limitations. His summation is correct, all tracks give ample space for each to show his improvisation skill in various contexts accessible to the listener. Five pieces are by Manson with one each by Suzuki and Patitucci.
Standing out is Suzuki's highly charged "Red Door" with the group at a high level of intensity, propelled by Froman?s pile-driving energy on drums, as well, featuring a stirring tenor solo by the tune's composer Suzuki.
On "Behind Enemy Lines," Patitucci's two-and-a-half minute tour-de-force cadenza on bass segues to a vibrant beat, inviting in Suzuki's probing tenor and Manson's pulsating electric piano. On another plane, the title track exhibits Manson's majestic turn on acoustic piano.
Manson's lofty purpose for the CD has been achieved.
-Larry Taylor, Jazz Review.com, September 2008
Two times Emmy winning pianist Nick Manson has put out a wide variety of music on his previous releases. The first one featured bassist John Patitucci guesting on a trio format, while Jazz Impressions: Ray Charles served as a fitting tribute to the stylings of Ray Charles. His latest release, Mercator , finds Manson leading a quartet with bassist Patitucci returning for duty along with drummer Ian Froman and Los Angeles saxophonist Andy Suzuki. The tunes, which feature Manson on both acoustic and electric keyboards, are open and spacious, giving everyone a chance to stretch out without appearing self indulgent. Manson's gorgeous tone is crystal clear, with a wide palate of dynamics, as he shows with brooding chords on the title track, leading up to Suzuki's yearning tenor saxophone and Froman's pulsating cymbals. His electric piano is well featured on “Good, Clean, Fun” which has Patitucci's bass playing a game of tag with the leader. The drawn out “Red Door” opens with some dramatic and unfolding piano work from Manson, leading to Froman's buoyant drum and cymbals chiming behind, creating a multi-layered landscape. Patitucci gets some marvelous solo space with the explorative and resonant “Behind Enemy Lines” reminiscent of the early days of Weather Report. The closing “Roby” spotlights the gentle and pensive side of this multifaceted keyboardist. Mercator has great team and solo work abound.
-George Harris, All About Jazz, July 2008
PROGRAM NOTES - by Scott Yanow
An Emmy-award pianist, keyboardist, arranger, composer and producer, Nick Manson has recorded and performed in a countless number of settings through the years. This set of songs, which he calls “Christmas Conversations,” features his renditions of vintage Yuletide favorites performed via overdubbing by Manson on acoustic and Fender Rhodes piano. “I always loved Bill Evans’ Conversations With Myself series which featured him on several pianos, his duets with Jim Hall, and his Alone record. However I wish that he had utilized the electric piano more on New Conversations. I love the Fender Rhodes and I thought it would be cool to have the Fender Rhodes interacting with the acoustic piano. I mapped out each song as far as the format went, but after that was determined, everything else was improvised.” The melodic yet inventive renditions of Christmas songs are a consistent joy, paying tribute to the original melodies yet transforming them into modern jazz.
“It was challenging to make ‘All Through The Night’ sound somewhat jazzy because it has a classical chord structure and sounds so perfect in its natural state.” Starting with some tender playing, new light is shed on this ancient piece when it becomes a medium-tempo bounce.
“Deck The Halls” has often been heard in jazz settings due to its chord changes. Nick Manson turns the standard into a swinging boppish romp with his two keyboards taking turns accompanying each other; the melody does not fully emerge until the last chorus.
Nick Manson’s wife is from the Philippines and “O Come, O Come Immanuel” was a family favorite around the Christmas season. It has the feel of an antique modal chant and it is given a mysterious atmosphere that perfectly matches the haunting melody.
“‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ was reharmonized with jazz chord changes; playing it as a two-beat felt very good.” While the chords are more complex than usual for this familiar song, Nick Manson’s rendition retains the piece’s joyfulness (check out his block chords) and its strong melody while adding a very swinging approach.
“The vamp that I gave to ‘Silent Night’ reminds me of ‘Some Other Time.’” “Silent Night” goes from a half-time feel on the melody to a cha-cha-cha rhythm for the body of the song, with the chords being altered in several key places yet still fitting the melody.
“Away In A Manger” is changed by Nick Manson into a jazz waltz. This joyful treatment is quite charming and the closing vamp is an added plus.
Nick Manson remembers liking “Up On The House Top” as a child. His version, after the introduction, keeps the melody close by even during the swinging section, and gives the impression of being both childlike and sophisticated at the same time.
While the improvisation on “The First Noel” is adventurous at times, the waltz rhythm keeps the music accessible and Nick Manson returns to the melody near the performance’s conclusion, right before the fadeout.
“I wanted ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ to have the feel of McCoy Tyner, going back and forth between two chords. The introduction on Fender Rhodes reminds me of ‘500 Miles High.’” An eight-bar vamp is added at the end of each chorus and, during this swinging performance, at one point Nick Manson can be heard trading off with himself, alternating on his two keyboards.
Usually “Carol Of The Bells” is played pretty fast. Nick Manson gives it new life by slowing it down to a medium-temp swing and turning it into a minor blues without losing the essence of the piece.
“O Christmas Tree” has two melodic choruses in waltz time that are separated by an original transition that is wistful, nostalgic and a bit touching. After the second chorus, another equally heartfelt section wraps up the piece perfectly.
UPDATE - 05/21/07
Now Available At iTunes & CD Baby!
This CD of refreshing original compositions by Nick features two fantastic groups! Nick's original Seattle Trio, featuring Mark Ivester and Clipper Anderson, augmented by Andy Suzuki on reeds/woods, Jay Thomas on trumpet and Jennifer Lind-Ivester on vocals. Nick's Los Angeles based Quartet is present, too, featuring Andy Suzuki on reeds, Dean Taba on bass and Kendall Kay on drums. Sublime Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric piano playing are a welcome addition to the landscape within many of these heartfelt arrangements, as well!
Feature About NICK At SCARBEE's Artist Lounge
Take Five With NICK At Allaboutjazz.com