Born: April 29, 1961 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Concord Recording Artist and Grammy® award winning artist Brian Nova is considered one of the top Jazz Guitarists/Vocalists in the nation, according to a recent poll in Jazz Improv Magazine. Joe Pass said of Nova: ‘I feel Brian is one of the finest Jazz Guitarists on the scene!’ He has the distinction of being the only guitarist who was mentored by, and toured with, the two titans of Jazz guitar: Herb Ellis and Joe Pass. Rock Icon Steve Miller says: ‘I’ve met and known a lot of guitarists in my career, and ‘B’ is the best guitarist I’ve ever met.’ Nova performs, and records, as a solo artist, with his Trio, Quartet, and his 12-piece Big Band.
Nova has toured and performed with many of the Jazz elite including: Saxophonists Eddie Harris, Illinois Jaquet, Danny Turner, Frank Foster, Tom Scott, Houston Person, Scott Hamilton, Dave Koz, Kenny G, Bobby Watson, Stanley Turrentine, Bud Shank, Pete Christleib, John Handy, Med Flory, Hadley Calman, Don Lamphere, Floyd Standifer, Bill Ramsey; Trumpeters Arturo Sandoval, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Dizzy Gillespie, Terell Stafford, James Morrison, Steve Madaio, Fred Radke, Rich Thurer, John Capobianco, Mike Vax; Pianists Oscar Peterson, Gerald Wiggins, Buddy Greco, Shelly Berg, Lawrence Hobgood, Kenny Drew, Jessica Williams, Joe Fos, Takashi Ohashi, Larry Fuller and Benny Green; Bassists Ray Brown, Red Mitchell, Neils Henning Orsted-Pederson, Jim Hughart, Jim DeJulio, Luther Hughes, Dave Carpenter, Chuck Berghoffer, Marshall Hawkins, Andy Simpkins, Leroy Vinneger, Mads Vinding, Buddy Catlett, John Heard; Drummers Gregg Field, Jeff Hamilton, Colin Bailey, Mel Brown, Eddie Henderson, Dick Berk, Butch Miles, Bobby Durham, Paul Kreibich; Organists Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Barney McClure; Guitarists Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Larry Coryell, Barney Kessel, Mundell Lowe, John Pisano, John Stowell, Henry Johnson and Taj Mahal; Trombonists James Morrison, Julian Priester, Dean Hubbard and Fred Wesley; Vibraphonists Lionel Hampton, Christian Tambur, Louis Hjulmand, Kiyoko Ami and Ricky Kelly; Vocalists Diane Schuur, Joe Williams, Kurt Elling, Buddy Greco, Ernestine Anderson, Freddie Cole, Dee Daniels, Jay Clayton, Greta Matassa, Mark Murphy; and Blues and Rock Legends Charlie Musselwhite, Al Jardine (Beach Boys), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Eric Burdon (Animals & War), Dave Mason, Joe Satriani, Mark O’Connor, Zack Brown Band, Clint Black and Rock and Roll icon Steve Miller.
Nova performs throughout North America with extended bookings in major cities and as a Jazz Festival artist. His annual European Tour includes engagements in Sicily, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy. His Pan-Pacific Tour includes China, Taiwan, and a sold out tour in Japan every December.
In addition to performing, Nova also encourages young Jazz musicians to further their own musical education and stage presence. From 1990 to 1996, he was the Director of Jazz and Guitar Studies for the Music Program at Seattle University. He continues to mentor the next- generation of professional musicians through his master classes and the clinics he conducts around the world. Nova began his Jazz career in Seattle, WA. He has lived in New York, Denmark, and now makes his home in California.
Discography Brian Nova has released six recordings of his own and is on many others including Arturo Sandoval’s latest CD ‘Dear Diz’ and Steve Miller’s upcoming Jazz CD where he is also Musical Director. His most recent release is titled “I Could Have Told You”; “The Shadow of Your Smile” released in 2005 to rave reviews; “Blue and Bossa Nova”; “Brian Nova- Alone”; “Live at Belltown Billiards”; and “Jazz Inflections”.
Awards:Grammy® Award winner.
- Joe Pass, 1994
“Brian is one of my favorite duet partners…..he goes for the groove.”
- Red Mitchell, 1996
“He is a true pleasure to play with. He’s my Man!” - Herb Ellis, 2000
Jazz Improv Review of Shadow of Your Smile. “Nova has amazing technique, which is obvious from the double-time technical explosion he launches into the first chorus of his solo on this first track. … one of the aspects of a player’s musicianship that is exposed is the ability to play a melody. Nova demonstrates that mastery and sensitivity on such pieces as “Time After Time,” approached as a ballad, the medium groove “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The More I See You,” and the unaccompanied rendition of “Beautiful Love.”
… Brian Nova’s The Shadow Of Your Smile album provides the foundation for more than an hour of straight-ahead jazz, and highly enjoyable listening.” - Winthrop Bedford, Jazz Improv
Jazz Times Review of Blue & Bossa Nova. “This record really swings! The band behind the very competent Seattle- based guitarist Brian Nova is clearly capable of capturing a groove and sticking with it. Much of that is owed to the nimble rhythm section, but with a vet like Buddy Catlett on bass, how could you miss? Nova himself is an accomplished guitarist, on both electric and acoustic, where his fingers lightly dancing on the fretboard exploring Bossa grooves at breakneck tempos... Let's hear more...” - Mike Quinn, Jazz Times,
Review of Blue & Bossa Nova. “Nova uncorks a series of
tasty, understated workouts on a repertoire of
jazz standards and Bossa Nova classics. The guitarists long,
single note runs paint some well-drawn
narratives... and the rhythm duo of Catlett and Williamson
provide supple, swinging underpinnings. The
leader's warm unadorned vocal readings add a nostalgia-
induced romantic gloss to the proceedings,
but it's Nova's string-bending and the collective swing that
impresses me most... The members listen
as well as they play, and they play really well.”
- Joseph Blake, Jazz Steps
The Rocket Review of Live performances. “Like Herb Ellis, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass before him, Nova is a smooth guitarist who tosses off fluid runs and melodic riffs like nobody's business... The band is swinging... The musicianship is hot and tasteful... Nova's got the goods...”
Earshot Jazz Magazine Review of Live performances. “Nova's command of Jazz guitar technique, combined with rock energy, his beautiful sound, his engaging stage presence, merge perfectly with the room creating a warm welcoming atmosphere. The rest is Jazz history!”
Palm Desert, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Director of Jazz Studies and Guiitar Studies - Seattle University 1990-1996