Born: September 5, 1983 Primary Instrument: Piano
Hands On Mark Nilan Jr.
Mark Nilan’s musical journey began from day one. Raised in a musical family, Mark’s father also being a pianist, Mark was surrounded by the music that would shape his style such as Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Chick Corea, George Duke, Ray Charles and Tower Of Power. Nilan was so gifted and adept in music that by the time he was a high school senior he had already been playing professionally for many years, attending college music courses, and teaching music theory at his high school. Nilan won several awards for ‘Best Jazz Soloist’ at Music Festivals in his early years. Due to his bright future he was awarded a featured slot at the Detroit International Jazz Festival while still in high school. Nilan went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in jazz piano from Wayne State University on full scholarship. WSU awarded him with ‘Best Jazz Composer’ in 2004. In 2006 Nilan made the move west to Los Angeles. Upon arriving he delved straight into more studies, this time at California Institute of the Arts. Mark was one of only two pianists that were accepted to study at CalArts. He graduated in 2008 with his master’s degree in jazz piano. One year later... In the summer of 2009 Mark Nilan Jr. sat down to pen what has turned out to be the riveting, fresh and vibrant album, Hands On. Nilan assembled a stellar cast of musicians for Hands On: bassist Abraham Laboriel, drummer Gregg Bissonette, guitarist Ricky ‘Z’ Zahariades and percussionist Brad Dutz. “I really wanted to break the smooth jazz stereotype of ‘drum machine grooves and eight bar loops’ and actually write great songs and have a live band.” Nilan explains. “I’m here to bring back the fire to jazz. No ‘elevator music’ here.. I’m bringing a fresh, young vibe to the contemporary jazz world.” Mark has definitely accomplished this with his outstanding debut album, Hands On. It contains ten original songs that keep the listener pinned to their seats. “I could tell 30 seconds in that this was a quality project, the tunes, the musicianship, the recording, the mixing...everything top notch. So, well done to all involved.” says mastering engineer for the likes of Kirk Whalum, Brain Simpson, Norman Brown ect., Ron Boustead. “This whole process has been a dream come true. Every day I have to pinch myself... what a thrill.” says Mark. Mark’s not the only one that had fun making this album, here’s what drummer Gregg Bissonette had to say about it: It was a joy and an honor getting to record on Mark Nilan Jr's new release ‘Hands On’. Mark Jr is one of my FAVORITE keyboard players and composers! Great work Mark Jr!! You are a musical monster!!” Nilan has a passion for music...not jazz, not pop...music. “I love living in all sorts of musical worlds. During the making of the album I’d go to Paramount for a day of shooting Glee and playing pop tunes and then come home and work on some of my great fresh jazz music.’ Because Nilan works in such a vast range of music, from being so well versed in jazz, to being the on-screen keyboard player for Fox’s smash hit Glee, to composing and producing the single ‘Foggin Up A Clear View’ for platinum selling rapper Obie Trice, he was able to fuse the knowledge of the jazz legends with the contemporary sounds of today to create- HANDS ON.
Santa Clarita, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.