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Carole Nelson

Carole is a London-born jazz pianist, saxophonist and composer who has been living in Ireland since 1986.

Her current project, the Carole Nelson Trio, with Carole on piano, bassist Cormac O'Brien and drummer Dominic Mullen, began at the 2015 Dublin Trio Trio Trio Piano Festival. The Trio’s first album, One Day In Winter was released November 2017 .

The album, all original compositions from Carole, follows the course of a winter’s day, inspired by the South County Carlow landscape between the River Barrow and the Blackstairs Mountains, where she currently lives.

Carole formed Zrazy with vocalist Maria Walsh in 1991. Their debut CD Give It All Up won the 1992 Hot Press/Music Critics Best New Band Award. Carole has since recorded five further albums of critically-acclaimed and award-winning music with Zrazy. Their 1998 album Private Wars won an American GLAMA award (Gay and Lesbian American Music Award) for Best Jazz. Zrazy performed this year at the Galway Jazz Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival and have toured extensively in North America and Europe.

Carole has arranged original music for the Dublin choir Gloria. Her composition Beloved and other arrangements are now performed by choirs worldwide.

Carole's theatre work includes composition for The Trojan Women at the Peacock and Emma Donoghues's Ladies and Gentlemen at the Project. 




Carole Nelson: Zen And The Art Of Music Making

Read "Carole Nelson: Zen And The Art Of Music Making" reviewed by Ian Patterson

To what extent music is a product of nature versus nurture is impossible to qualify, but it is reasonable to assume that a musician's immediate environment plays into the music somehow. Difficult, certainly, to imagine bebop birthing anywhere other than in the hurly burly of 1940s New York, for example. For London-born, Ireland-based pianist Carole Nelson, the Carlow countryside and its varied landscape has exerted a profound effect on her music making. Since 2001 Nelson has lived in ...

Album Review

Carole Nelson Trio: Night Vision

Read "Night Vision" reviewed by Ian Patterson

For good or for bad, the pandemic lockdowns spurred no end of introspective, soul-searching albums. Ireland-based English pianist Carole Nelson could have been heading that way when a 2020 residency in Mayo, with the Na Cailleach women's art collective, prompted her contemplation of the ancient peat-bog landscape, the wild sea and humans' story in place and in time. However, it was not in this artistic cradle that Nelson found her muse, but in the wildlife of her own garden, particularly ...

Album Review

Carole Nelson Trio: Arboreal

Read "Arboreal" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Nature has perhaps inspired more art than anything else, including love. For London-born, Ireland-based pianist, singer and composer Carole Nelson, the countryside of her adopted County Carlow has proven to be a musically fertile stomping ground. The introspective One Day in Winter (Black Stairs Records, 2017), which featured top Irish musicians Cormac O'Brien and Dominic Mullan, took as its inspiration the landscape and shifting light between the River Barrow and the Blackstairs Mountains. The trio's second album is similarly introspective, ...

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"One of the most original jazz composers in Ireland." —Irish Times

​'A finely-wraught meditation that tapped into the spacious European piano trio tradition of Tord Gustavsen and Marcin Wasilewski'  —Cormac Larkin, Irish Times

"Glorious free-spirited jazz” –The Irish Times




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Night Vision

Black Stairs Records



Black Stairs Records


One Day In Winter

Self Produced



From: Arboreal
By Carole Nelson


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