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Nikolaj Hess

Danish piano/ keyboard player, composer, producer, arranger and educator.

NH won the gold prize in "Berlingske Tidendes" competition of non-classical music in Copenhagen; won the category best European jazz piano player under 25 in the RAI competition in Rome and was a finalist in Leverkusener Jazztages "European Young Artist" competition in Germany.

Having graduated from Rhythmic Conservatory at 22, he was the first to get topgrade 13 for his concert performance in piano, his major subject. He later studied in the US with Richie Beirach, Danilo Perez and Gary Dial. He also studied in West Africa with master drummer Odartey and at Legon University in Accra, Ghana.

His numerous recordings as a leader, co-leader and sideman includes Nikolaj Hess Global Motion + (w Mommaas, Hebert, Moreno, Ballard, Monder) nominated as album of the year at DMA 2010, Spacelab The Champ (w AC and Mikkel Hess) and also the Nikolaj Hess Trio "Playin" (Music Mecca), Hess/Lund/Waidtløew/McBride "Back & Forth", Global Motion (Sunnyside Records), Ulla Henningsen "The Man I Love" (Sony), "Global Motion Trio" (Calibre), Hessismore, "Coral" with Gregory Hutchinson, Chris Cheek & Jens Skou, "A Word" with Sissel Vera Pettersen nominated as best jazz vocal album DMA 2010, research&development project "Spoiled Child", Hessismore "Live At Wood Wood".

He is leader, co-leader and member of several other groups like NH Quartet, Funky Nacht Music, Hessismore, SisselVeraPettersen/NikolajHess, DocStomp aka Spoiled Child, counting and having counted members like Marc Mommaas, John Hebert, Tony Moreno, Jay Anderson, Francois Moutin, Kenny Wolleson, Christian McBride, Greg Hutchinson, Marylin Mazur, Donny McCaslin, Jochen Rueckert, Satoshi Takeishi, Jesper Lundgaard, Mads Vinding, Alex Riel, Lars Danielsson, Jacob Fisher, Johannes Weidenmuller, Tom Rainey, Cameron Brown, Sissel Vera Petersen, Hans Ulrik and Chris Minh Doky.

He has also worked with Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, Hal Willner, Etta Cameron, Ulla Henningsen, Annisette Koppel, Julee Cruise, Jamey Haddad, Ben Street, Ben Allison, Essiet Essiet, Lage Lund, Ron Afif, Michelle Walker, Ed Neumeister, Clarence Penn, Danny Gottlieb, James Genus, David Liebman, Hal Crook, Harwie Swartz, Jean Luc Ponty, Marcello Pelletiri, Andrea Marcelli, Michael Blair, Kysia Bostic, Ed Howard, Youron Israels, Victor Rendon, Manny Duran, Dennis Charles, Doug Raney, Judy Niemack, Cæcilie Norby, Debbie Cameron, Lars Hug, Bob Rockwell, Caroline Henderson, Jukka Perko, Severi Pyysalo, Ed Thigpen, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, and many others. He was the music director for american theater guru Robert Wilson's "The White Town and is writing music for Lars Von Triers next movie Melancholia"

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Album Review

Hess / AC / Hess: Spacelab

Read "Spacelab" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Trio danese di ottimo livello, quello formato dai fratelli Hess e da Anders Christensen, già protagonisti nel 2009 di The Champ, loro opera prima (l'incisione, qui, è invece recentissima: febbraio 2014). Il terreno è quello di un piano trio arioso e non particolarmente avventuroso, su una linea, quindi, abbastanza battuta, che peraltro i tre scandinavi esplorano con notevole perizia strumentale e felicità di scrittura. Si respirano un'eleganza e una souplesse estreme, pur non mancando gli episodi più ...

Album Review

Nikolaj Hess: Trio

Read "Trio" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Inizia con un malinconico brano di Bob Dylan (al quale è dedicato anche un altro omaggio) questo bel CD del pianista danese Nikolaj Hess, in trio con Tony Scherr e Kenny Wollesen, la ritmica di Bill Frisell conosciuta nel suo lungo soggiorno a New York. Ma la cifra della formazione non si ferma a questo primo episodio, caratteristico di una certa modernistica interpretazione del piano trio, e anzi muta ripetutamente nell'arco delle dieci tracce--sette originali e solo un'altra, “Cottontail," uno ...

Multiple Reviews

Different Shades of Hess: Nikolaj Hess & Spacelab

Read "Different Shades of Hess: Nikolaj Hess & Spacelab" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

The exploration of sound is a natural part of Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess' music. Since graduating from the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, he has worked in a wide range of contexts and played with artists as varied as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and singer Sissel Vera Pettersen. With Pettersen he made an enchanting duo album, By This River (Music For Dreams, 2006).

Hess is also part of a musical dynasty, which includes his brothers, the saxophonist Emil Hess and the drummer ...

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""Providing the perfect come-down after the pyrotechnics of the opera house, the late-night solo piano recital by Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess in Christians Kirke careened between heart-melting delicacy and almost Chopinesque virtuosity. Hess is clearly equipped to face the most gargantuan technical demands, but it was the incredible fecundity of his imagination that impressed the most, whether in his inventive reimagining of "You Are my Sunshine" or the extended reverie of "Smile". As midnight struck I'm sure I heard a cannon being fired some way off in the distance, but this could have been entirely due to my hypnagogic state."" - Peter Quinn, The Art Desk

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Gateway Music



Self Produced



BMG (Denmark)


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