Brian Nova

Brian Nova

Musicians | 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 27, 2024

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 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 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, Ledisi and many others.

Nova performs throughout North America with extended bookings in major cities and as a Jazz Festival Artist. His annual European Tour includes engagements in Sicily, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Italy. His Pan-Pacific Tour includes China, Taiwan, and a sold out tour in Japan every December.

In addition to performing, Nova also encourages young Jazz musicians to further their own musical education and stage presence. From 1990 to 1996, he was the Director of Jazz and Guitar Studies for the Music Program at Seattle University. He continues to mentor the next generation of professional musicians through his master classes and clinics he conducts around the world.


Grammy® Award winner.


Benedetto Archtop Guitars, Acoustic Image, SeQuel Amps, Raezers Edge Speaker Cabinets, AAD Amps, Phil Jones Amps, Bose L1 Systems


All About Jazz Articles

Album Review

Chris Walden: Missa Iubileum Aureum: Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass

Read "Missa Iubileum Aureum: Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass" reviewed by Jack Bowers

First things first: there is no doubt that Chris Walden's reverential Missa Iubileum Aureum ("Golden Jubilee Jazz Mass") is beautifully written and wonderfully performed by the LMR Jazz Orchestra, St. Dominick's Schola Cantorum and cantors Kurt Elling and Tierney Sutton. Is it jazz? That is another question, one not so easily answered. While there are elements of jazz, they are incidental and generally overshadowed by the more doctrinal aspects of what is essentially an homage to devotion and piety. And ...

Album Review

Various Artists: Ella 100 Live at the Apollo

Read "Ella 100 Live at the Apollo" reviewed by Jim Worsley

To be taken back in time within the scope of a period piece movie has long been a staple. Some journeys feel much more real than others, but the concept is commonplace. Venturing into the past with only the audio of a CD or record is, as they might have said back in 1934, “a whole different kettle of fish." A live audience first laid eyes and ears on this 100th birthday celebration honoring the sensational Ella Fitzgerald (born on ...

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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

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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

Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Nat King Cole
piano and vocals
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