Primary Instrument: Trombone
After years of juggling life as a creative musician on the NYC scene to touring the globe as a sidekick to one of the music industries biggest stars, Nick Vayenas is ready to step into the spotlight as a musician of style and substance. With his album, the self-titled “Nick Vayenas”, Nick displays an astonishing breadth of skill, featuring himself on Vocals, Trumpet, and Trombone. However impressive the tools at his disposal are, they’re merely in service of the mature, unique voice that brings them to life.
“Nick Vayenas” frames Vayenas' talents within the American songbook traditions, and also shows more sides of his personality, giving fully equal attention to jazz standards and original compositions. For his album, Nick eschews a compositional narrative thread, presenting a complete representation of his musicianship.“I wanted to make a fun, unpretentious record,” Nick explains.“I like music that grooves hard, has strong melodic content, and exposes the listener to various moods and emotions.“ Originally starting out on trombone and piano at age 12, Nick has since become an accomplished trumpeter and aspiring vocalist. His debut on both trumpet and voice is on this album.“My new skills as a trumpet player improve my range, endurance, and articulation on the trombone,” Vayenas explains. Much like a saxophonist who can switch between soprano and tenor, I now have two different brass voices to work with. It increases my creative options.” Being a long time member of pop superstar Michael Buble’s touring band inspired Nick to take vocal lessons, and seriously consider vocals as a way of presenting his musical ideas.“After years of messing around in garage band singing and making tracks I decided to incorporate what I’ve learned”, explains Nick.“I’ve always tried to phrase like a vocalist on the trombone, especially when I play ballads. The trombone is a lot like the human voice so it felt natural to use my own voice as an instrument.To sing a song and make the lyrics mean something to yourself and the listener is a whole new challenge from phrasing on a wind instrument. From vocal tracks like “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, to the hard driving original instrumental composition “M.O.“, “Nick Vayenas” covers a lot of ground musically, but never loses its focus conceptually. Nick’s unique style of playing, composing, and arranging is constant throughout.“This project is an attempt to make an album that combines all of my influences thus far. I love all kinds of music, so hopefully you can hear a little bit of everything in there.“
Listeners who have followed Nick’s musical development from its beginnings in Boston may recognize many names in Nick Vayenas supporting players. In fact, the band is an ensemble cast of musicians who came of age playing together in their late teens and early twenties in Boston. Drum phenomenon Kendrick Scott and alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius have been performing and recording with Vayenas since their days at school together at Berklee College of Music. Pianist Dan Kaufman and bassist Vicente Archer, who quickly became two of the busiest working musicians in town upon moving to New York, also attended school in Boston during those same years, and the five of them made music together often in various configurations in those days. Jazz guitarist, world music star, and Blue Note recording artist Lionel Loueke also attended Berklee with Vayenas, Cornelius, and Scott. But it wasn’t until he and Nick both relocated to Los Angeles to attend the highly prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (where they both studied from jazz masters Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter) that their long standing musical rapport began.
Nick’s years in school at Berklee, Manhattan School of Music, and The Thelonious Monk Institute were key in in his technical development as a musician and composer. But his music reflects a depth of character that can’t be taught in the classroom. Vayenas’ evolution as an artist reflects a life in and of music. He seamlessly straddles both the commercial music industry and the more “creative” jazz world, having worked comfortably with international pop superstars like Michael Buble and Josh Groban, and respected New York jazz artists like Kendrick Scott, Dayna Stephens, and Patrick Cornelius alike. He is equally at home performing in intimate New York jazz clubs such as The Jazz Gallery and The Blue Note and in huge arenas making music for tens of thousands, and his years spent touring the globe and paying his dues in the music scene have prepared him for the most musically personal statement of his life so far. “Nick Vayenas” releases June 2012 on Whirlwind Recordings.
Nick Vayenas is a Conn-Selmer Artist
“This album is well conceived and more than casually ambitious.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times
This is one of the most impressive of recent Whirlwind issues, showcasing a multi-talented individual likely to appeal to a wide constituency of jazz fans, 4 stars. - Jazz Journal
Mr. Vayenas is a man of many talents – he plays tasty trumpet, fulsome trombone and he sings too...this is a very well played album...Stardust is effective – the highish vocal is suave and smooth against a more urgent Lionel Loueke and percussion rhythm. Add some nicely accented phrasing and a richly melodic trombone solo and the standard tune meets Vayenas’s contemporary attitudes in accord...the band is classy. - Jazz Breakfast
His brass work and arrangements are stellar, this fine band is right in step with him and he's beginning to discover the power of connecting with an audience through not only the strength of his playing but also with the words he sings. - Step Tempest
“Vayenas and company's endeavors will surely give adventurous music fans something to look forward to. - Greg Camphire, All About Jazz
“I continue to wait and watch what he will do next.” – Terence Blanchard
I predict we will hear more of this young man on any one, or all four of his talents - Bebop Spoken Here
Vayenas has got a great, identifiable sound that is all his own - The Entertainment Bank
“Vayenas is anything but another jazz musician; he’s a musician that’s willing to cross bridges into new musical territory, and doesn’t hold anything back.” – Kevin Eagan, BlogCritics Magazine
“One is easily seduced into this music. He is developing his own voice and the future looks extremely promising” – Richard Kamins, The Hartford Courant “A valiant opening salvo for a new musician on the scene whose star should rise quickly.” – Michael G.Nastos, All Music Guide
There's a definite reverence to fifties Chet Baker vocals and trumpet playing on 'Nick Vayenas.' Added is Nick's trombone versatility, as well, making this CD special. - The Voice 88.7 FM - Sacramento, CA
Vivid music mixed with great trumpet, trombone and vocal skills...'Nick Vayenas' is a pleasure to listen to, with great variation throughout its eight tracks - Jazz & Blues Tour, ASFM 105.4, The Netherlands