Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

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Josh Nelson, born and raised in Southern California, maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. At 34 years old, he has already performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, Bob Hurst, Jeff Hamilton, Ralph Moore, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Ernie Watts, Jack Sheldon, Tom Scott, Peter Erskine, Abe Laboriel, and Alex Acuna, to name a few. Josh has recorded for countless albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects: First Stories (1998), Anticipation (2004) and Let it Go (2007, Native Language Music) all garnered international critical claim. Josh’s 4th album, I Hear a Rhapsody (2009), featured Josh’s musings on new original music, standard interpretations, and reinventions of pop tunes. His recent record, Discoveries, pairs classic sci-fi movies with new compositions for a brass and wind ensemble.

Original music and performances of his have appeared on various prime-time and cable shows and films, including “Jack and Bobby”, "The Division", “Lucky”, and “First Daughter”. He has also worked with film composer Michael Kamen, and actors Eric Idle, Clint Eastwood, and Jon Lovitz. Josh has earned many awards, scholarships, and accolades over the years, some of which include the Louis Armstrong Award and the John Philip Sousa Award. He was also one of only twelve semi-finalists in the prestigious 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

Josh is also musical director for vocal talent Sara Gazarek, of which he penned the title track of her debut record, “Yours”. That record reached No. 10 on the Billboard Jazz Charts. Sara’s second studio album, Return to You (2006), also featured Josh’s singer/songwriter skills.

Currently, Josh continues his touring with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole. He is also always working on a new album, and is just happy to be alive and playing with wonderful musicians!

“Josh is that rare young musician who has not only a wealth of study and experience under his belt (all but assuring him a prominent place in jazz music), but he also possesses those rarest of musical attributes: a touch, a tone, and a “sound” that are all identifiably his own.” - Peter Erskine, legendary drummer

“A definite fresh sound by a guy who should be in everyone’s iPod.” - George Harris, All About Jazz

"Nelson distinguishes himself as a first-rate player and composer with a fresh, wholly personal take on the music." - Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times

Check out his website at to purchase his albums, check out his performance calendar, and more.