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Reggie Nicholson

The instantly recognizable style and sound of Reggie Nicholson has elevated him to one of the most distinctive, inventive and inspirational drummer/percussionist of his generation; a formidable technician, but one who uses his considerable skills constructively and with infinite taste.

​Born in Chicago, his drum concept fitted perfectly the needs of many extraordinary Chicago musicians. Nicholson first gained a reputation as a drummer and percussionist in his hometown of Chicago. A Southside native, he’s a graduate of Cornell Elementary, where he was playing drums for the “Area A Band” of exceptional music students and Hirsch High School, as a concert band percussionist. He then made good use of a 4-year music scholarship to Chicago State University’s percussion program.  During his early days before moving to NYC, Nicholson worked around Chicago with many great musicians, and performed regularly at the famous South side organ club, The Other Place. An active member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1979, Nicholson has absorbed the organization's musical influences to compose and improvise original music.

​Nicholson has performed and recorded with a wide variety of jazz and new music luminaries such as Jon Logan, Larry Frazier, Mendai, Vince Willis, Phil Cohran, Dewey Redman, James Spaulding, Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ernest Dawkins, Leroy Jenkins, Edward Wilkerson, Jr., Hanah Jon Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Sam Newsome, Myra Melford, Wilber Morris, Elektra Kurtis, Billy Bang, Butch Morris, Yuko Fujiyama, Oliver Lake, Fay Victor, Roy Campbell, just to name a few.  In addition, Reggie has toured throughout Europe and Japan.

As a composer, he was nominated twice for the Cal Arts Composition Award in 1993/1994, and his compositions were performed throughout NYC including concerts for Roulette, Interpretations, Vision Festival, and the AACM.  

Nicholson’s recordings, which have highlighted his compositions, are “Unnecessary Noise Allowed (1997)” features his quintet, The Reggie Nicholson Concept. “Percussion Peace”(2005) is a solo recording experimenting with electronics and percussion instruments. In 2007,  the premier of “Timbre Suite” (Tone Colors) was recorded for percussion ensemble. ”Surreal Feel”(2008) shows the maturity and growth of his composing skills with music for brass instruments and percussion.

“Mettle” (2018) features his second solo recording for percussion. His latest recording, “No Preservatives Added” (2020), features new compositions for  percussion ensemble.

Currently, Nicholson is continuing to explore the aesthetics of his musical ideas.


"Reggie Nicholson creating exquisite splashes of color and unmetered cascades on the drums." Chicago Tribune

"Drummer Reggie Nicholson not only provided the glue that held the various moods together, but soloed with the same purpose and tonal consciousness as the front line." LA Times

 “Nicholson's underpinning leads perfectly to a spectacular tenor solo,” AllAboutJazz

“Reggie has done a great job of providing superb arrangements for the four horns, each ensemble piece radiates with warmth and thoughtful charts. 'Surreal Feel' is thoughtfully conceived and consistently well-played with a warm, glowing sound that feels just right.” - Downtown Music Gallery NYC

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Molten Gold

Fundacja Słuchaj!


No Preservatives Added

Self Produced


Timbre Suite




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