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Nick Manson

A talented jazz pianist and keyboardist, the two time Emmy Award winning multifaceted Nick Manson is also a composer, arranger and producer who has excelled in several fields. His piano playing is swinging, lyrical, consistently inventive, and quite individual. Throughout his career, Nick's performances are both accessible and creative, appealing to a wide audience yet remaining true to himself.

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick remembers his early years. "My grandfather was a classical pianist so I heard classical music early on. When I was ten I switched from a home organ which I hated to the piano, having nine years of classical piano lessons. I first heard jazz when I was in the seventh grade and enjoyed seeing the high school stage band. I was really into big bands and that is how I got into jazz, listening to the music of Buddy Rich, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. I was also inspired by the Beatles and Elton John to want to make my own music." While in high school, Nick went to Stan Kenton clinics, developing his skills as a composer and an arranger. He competed at all-state festivals in Washington and remembers his piano teacher giving him a copy of Chick Corea's Light As A Feather which made a strong impression. He also picked up some very valuable playing experience in an unusual way. "My parents had a restaurant. When I was a sophomore in high school, they would hire all of the top local players from the Northwest with the condition that they would let me play piano. So I had a chance to play three nights a week as a teenager. It was an invaluable learning experience."

After high school, Nick Manson attended, on scholarship, the Berklee College Of Music. He was inspired and influenced greatly by Dave Mash and George Garzone in composition, arranging and improvisation. When he was 19 he moved to Los Angeles where he played with Lenny Kravitz's first band and attended the Dick Grove School. He became adept at using MIDI and electronics, and was one of the first to play, in concert, Yamaha's prototype of the DX7.

After moving back to Seattle, Nick became very busy doing production work while also playing jazz and creating music in a variety of settings. During his periods in Seattle and back in Los Angeles for a decade, he was quite productive, producing, arranging and performing music on CDs and for films, television and commercials. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on the Seattle television show How 'Bout That, for best piece of music in a musical segment and for best musical production in a half-hour television show. He arranged more than 1,200 titles for the Muzak corporation and currently has original music playing internationally on Muzak, DMX and Spafax. For much of a decade, Nick was a major player in the development and design of Atmosphere, Stylus, Trilogy and Stylus RMX for Spectrasonics virtual instrument plug-ins. He has owned and operated his own recording studio for the past 20 years and runs his own CD label, Manasus Music. He has been a guest lecturer and clinician at many schools (including USC, the Los Angeles Music Academy, Iolani School in Honolulu, Bremerton Community College and Edmonds Community College) and he taught music theory at the Art Institute of Seattle in the early 1990s. In addition, his trios and quartets have performed dozens of times for Microsoft's functions in addition to Bill Gates' wedding and 20th high school reunion.

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Album Review

Nick Manson: Mercator

Read "Mercator" reviewed by Jay Deshpande

Throughout his career, pianist Nick Manson has appeared in a wide variety of musical settings. He played in Lenny Kravitz's band in the early 80s, wrote Emmy-winning themes for television, and also composed a large oeuvre of commercial music. With Mercator, he returns to the jazz he grew up with, playing original compositions in a quartet format.

Manson is an excellent technician at the keyboard, and he brings to his compositions a very natural sense of melody. The songs on ...

Take Five With...

Take Five With Nick Manson

Read "Take Five With Nick Manson" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Nick Manson: Originally from Seattle, Nick studied classical piano, privately for many years. He began writing music for big band as a sophomore in high school. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the Dick Grove School in Los Angeles. He has performed, arranged, and produced on numerous occasions in the past 25 years for TV, Film, and Commercials.Nick has often been a favorite featured guest on Jim Wilke's “Jazz in the Northwest, KPLU ...

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This is 21st century jazz, more difficult to describe than to simply savor.
-Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene, December 2008

Manson is an excellent technician at the keyboard, and he brings to his compositions a very natural sense of melody.
-Jay Deshpande, allaboutjazz.com, November 2008

Fender Rhodes enthusiasts will absolutely adore Nick's touch on the keys as he is quite comfortable in expressing himself fluently in the language of modern jazz.
-Rob Young, theurbanflux.com, September 2008

Manson's gorgeous tone is crystal clear, with a wide palate of dynamics...
-George Harris, All About Jazz, July 2008

Nick Manson's playing is outstanding!
-Bob Comden, L.A

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Jazz Noir

Papillon/Blueport Jazz


Sagebrush Rebellion




Manasus Music


Petite Belle

From: Sagebrush Rebellion
By Nick Manson

In Loving Memory To Roby Duke

From: Mercator
By Nick Manson

Swanee River Rock (Talkin' 'Bout That River)

From: Jazz Impressions: Ray Charles
By Nick Manson



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