Brian Nova

Brian Nova

Instrument: Guitar | Location: Seattle

Brian Nova is one of my favorite musicians to work with and listen to. He's got a beautiful, signature tone on his guitar. He swings like crazy. Great composer and arranger. He's my Man!.
—Kurt Elling (Grammy award winning Vocalist, composer, producer, arranger, educator)

Updated: April 29, 2022

Born: April 29, 1961

Vivify® Music Recording Artist and Benedetto Guitar Artist Brian Nova is considered one of the top Jazz Guitarists/Vocalists in the nation, according to a recent poll in Jazz Improv Magazine. Joe Pass said of Nova: ‘I feel Brian is one of the finest Jazz Guitarists on the scene!’ He has the distinction of being the only guitarist who was mentored by, and toured with the two titans of Jazz guitar: Herb Ellis and Joe Pass. Rock Icon Steve Miller says: ‘I’ve met and known a lot of guitarists in my career, and ‘B’ is the best guitarist I’ve ever met.’ Nova performs, and records, as a solo artist, with his Trio, Quartet, and his 18-piece Big Band. Brian is on Arturo Sandoval’s Grammy® Award winning CD ‘Dear Diz’, which garnered a Grammy® and 3 Latin Grammys® in 2013 on Concord Records. Brian was also just featured at the Iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem for Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday Celebration along with Liz Wright, Monica Mancini, Patti Austin, Andra Day, Cassandra Wilson and many others.

Nova has toured and performed with many of the Jazz elite including: Saxophonists - Eddie Harris, Illinois Jaquet, Danny Turner, Frank Foster, Tom Scott, Houston Person, Scott Hamilton, Dave Koz, Kenny G, Bobby Watson, Stanley Turrentine, Bud Shank, Pete Christleib, John Handy, Med Flory, Hadley Calman, Don Lamphere, Floyd Standifer, Bill Ramsey; Trumpeters - Arturo Sandoval, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Dizzy Gillespie, Terell Stafford, Clark Terry, James Morrison, Steve Madaio, Fred Radke, Mike Vax; Pianists - Oscar Peterson, Gerald Wiggins, Buddy Greco, Shelly Berg, Laurence Hobgood, Kenny Drew, Jessica Williams, Joe Fos, Roger Kellaway, Marc Seals, Larry Fuller and Benny Green; Bassists - Ray Brown, Red Mitchell, Neils Henning Orsted-Pederson, Jim Hughart, Jim DeJulio, Luther Hughes, Dave Carpenter, Terry Miller, Stu Hamm, Chuck Berghoffer, Marshall Hawkins, Andy Simpkins, Leroy Vinneger, Mads Vinding, Buddy Catlett, John Heard; Drummers - Gregg Field, Jeff Hamilton, Colin Bailey, Gary Novak, Mel Brown, Eddie Henderson, Dick Berk, Butch Miles, Bobby Durham, Paul Kreibich; Organists - Jimmy Smith & Brother Jack McDuff; Guitarists - Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Larry Coryell, Barney Kessel, Mundell Lowe, John Pisano, John Stowell, Henry Johnson and Taj Mahal; Trombonists - James Morrison, Julian Priester, Fred Wesley (James Brown); Vibraphonists - Lionel Hampton, Christian Tambur, Louis Hjulmand, Kiyoko Ami and Ricky Kelly; Vocalists - Kurt Elling, Patti Austin, Ledisi, Diane Schuur, Joe Williams, Buddy Greco, Ernestine Anderson, Freddie Cole, Liz Wright, Dee Daniels, Jay Clayton, Greta Matassa, Mark Murphy; and Blues and Rock Legends Charlie Musselwhite, Al Jardine (Beach Boys), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Eric Burdon (Animals & War), Dave Mason, Joe Satriani, Mark O’Connor, Clint Black and Rock and Roll icon Steve Miller.

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“ I feel Brian is one of the finest jazz guitarists on the scene!”

- Joe Pass, 1994

“Brian is one of my favorite duet partners…..he goes for the groove.”

- Red Mitchell, 1996

“He is a true pleasure to play with. He’s my Man!” - Herb Ellis, 2000

Jazz Improv Review of Shadow of Your Smile. “Nova has amazing technique, which is obvious from the double-time technical explosion he launches into the first chorus of his solo on this first track. … one of the aspects of a player’s musicianship that is exposed is the ability to play a melody. Nova demonstrates that mastery and sensitivity on such pieces as “Time After Time,” approached as a ballad, the medium groove “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The More I See You,” and the unaccompanied rendition of “Beautiful Love.”

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Advanced only


Director of Jazz Studies and Guiitar Studies - Seattle University 1990-1996

Clinic/Workshop Information

Solo Guitar

Frank Sinatra
voice / vocals
Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Herb Ellis
Eddie Harris
saxophone, tenor
Barney Kessel
guitar, electric
Joe Pass



Vivify Music, Inc


The Upside of Lonely

From: The Upside Of Lonely
By Brian Nova