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Josh Nelson

Pianist and composer Josh Nelson maintains an active and creative schedule. He has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens, Alicia Olatuja, Eddie Daniels, Ken Peplowski, Richard Galliano, Michael Buble, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, Greg Hutchinson, John Clayton, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, and Lewis Nash.

Josh has performed around the world and recorded for numerous albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects: "Anticipation" (2004) and "Let it Go" (2007, Native Language Music) both garnered international critical acclaim. Josh’s third album, "I Hear a Rhapsody" (2009), featured his original compositions, standard interpretations, and re-imagining of some popular repertoire. "Discoveries" (2011), introduced a pairing of classic science fiction ephemera with new compositions for a brass and wind ensemble (featuring a live ongoing video projection and art installation component as well, called The Discovery Project). "Exploring Mars"(2015) explored musical themes on the Red Planet, along with spectacular NASA/JPL Martian video footage. "Dream in the Blue" (2016) documented Josh in an intimate duo setting with his longtime collaborator, vocalist Sara Gazarek. "The Sky Remains" (2017) delved into musical stories and themes originating from his hometown of Los Angeles. "The Discovery Project Live in Japan" (2020) is a live trio album, and received wonderful reviews. His latest release will drop in September of 2021, "live at bluewhale | Volume 1", It's a sentimental tribute to an amazing venue in Los Angeles which was forced to closed during the pandemic.

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. In 2006, Josh was one of only twelve semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

Josh toured the world for 6 beautiful years with the legendary vocalist Natalie Cole. He continues to tour with artists Nicolas Bearde, Kenny Washington, Lorca Hart, Anton Schwartz, Allison Adams Tucker, Kathleen Grace, Gaby Moreno, Alicia Olatuja, Tom Scott, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Christian Howes.


Louis Armstrong Award, John Philip Sousa Award, numerous "Outstanding Soloist Awards" at music competitions from around the country. $10,000 Tom Talbert Scholarship. Josh has also been a member of many honor groups, including the SCSBOA Honor Jazz Band, the SCSBOA All- Stars, and the Grammy Band. Josh was one of only 12 semi-finalists in the prestigious International Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition which was held in Washington D.C. in 2006.


Yamaha S-400B, Nord (Clavia) Electro 2, 3


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“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

“Wonders never cease here, as Nelson's imagination carries us to unexpected places and uncovers topics and stories hidden in the mists and mortar of Los Angeles... he paints subtle gestures, sophisticated thoughts, and broad strokes…the end result is a work that speaks to an arranger's mind, a songwriter's sensibility, and a historian's eye… It's more than enough to keep the mind and emotions busy and happy.” —All About Jazz

“An impressionistic musical look at facets of L.A., this will open your ears to a jazzy, L.A. you probably never considered.” – Midwest Record

Jazz Review January 2008 By Paul J. Youngman

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Primary Instrument



Los Angeles

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Contact me at [email protected] for more info!

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Dash Hoffman Records


Shine Thru

Outside in Music



Resonance Records


Live At Bluewhale,...

Steel Bird Music


Social Anthems,...

Origin Records


Colors Of Jazz

Self Produced


Sister Moon

From: Smile
By Josh Nelson

For What It's Worth

From: Social Anthems, Volume 1
By Josh Nelson

Bridges and Tunnels

From: The Sky Remains
By Josh Nelson

Small Hotel

From: In2uition
By Josh Nelson

Bhutto Song

From: I Hear a Rhapsody
By Josh Nelson


From: Discoveries
By Josh Nelson



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