Born: October 28, 1955 Primary Instrument: Piano
These recent statements from several industry pros could sum it up in a nutshell about Nina Beck's piano playing and singing: With so much jazz mistaking excess for invention and hyperactivity for dynamism, Nina Beck and her groups display genuine heart with no bells and whistles. Nina is a pianist/singer worthy of much more attention. -Roger Crane, Jazz Writer for such publications as Jazz Improv and All About Jazz. You're very good, and you know how to swing. I can't say that about every pianist; but you definitely can swing. -Marty Harris, prominent pianist/recording artist. Nina Beck is a polished jazz pianist with absolute pitch. Beck is a solid performer who knows all the tunes and plays them superbly. -John Gilbert, Staff Writer for Sony/Columbia Records, Euro Club De Jazz, All About Jazz, and JazzReview.com Magazine.
NINA BECK, jazz pianist, vocalist, and flautist, has been playing piano since age five, and has been a professional performer around Southern California for 22 years in jazz venues and for private functions leading her All Key'd Up groups, as well as with other working singers and bands. She plays ~800 songs from memory in any key, composes, and is a published songwriter. Nina holds a BA in Music from CCNY where she studied with prominent pianist Don Friedman and of particular note, with the late John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, then an honorary professor. In L.A., she has studied with reknowned pianists Milcho Leviev and Terry Trotter. Performance credits include jazz/blues legend Ernie Andrews and A-list artists Leslie Baker, Jesse Bradley, Donald Dean, Gene Diamond, Dale Fielder, Mike Flick, Henry Franklin, James Geralden, Maria Jacobs, Jack LeCompte, Jacques Lesure, Tera Johnson, Clarence Johnston, Sherry Luchette, Doug MacDonald, Tom Margitan, Bill Markus, Jonah Minton, Matt Otto, Ralph Penland, Gina Saputo, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Lou Shoch, Richard Simon, Jimmy Spencer, Evan Stone, Wendell Williams, Bobby White, and Johnny Vana; major venues performed and/or headlined include Bistro 400 (steadily for one year), Cabrini's, Cafe' 322, Colombo's, the Four Olives, Jax, The Lighthouse, Lunaria, Maggiano's, The Money Tree (semi-regularly throughout '05), Mr. B, Sangria, and Spazio. Her playing and singing style have been repeatedly been likened to Diana Krall, Marian McPartland, and Kenny Barron. She cites her main piano influences as Sonny Clark, Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Wynton Kelly, and Teddy Wilson; with her unique vocal style with its warm alto timbre, she blends her innate sense of lyrics and music with influences from such female vocal jazz greats as Cassandra Wilson and Laverne Butler. Nina subs for prominent pianists Alexandra Caselli, Eric Ekstrand, Karen Hernandez, and Dick Tash, and subbed at The Lighthouse (Sunday brunches) in the mid-90's for noted pianist Michelle Faber.
OF SPECIAL NOTE: In Oct. '05, Nina's vocal rendition of East of the Sun, with her piano accompaniment, was selected and aired on Fabulous 690 Radio in their 'Fabulous Finds' Contest. Also in Oct. '05, reviewer/writer Bob Agnew published Nina's bio in L.A. Jazz Scene, 'Players/Jazzlines' Section. She was again featured in the Nov. '05 issue, 'Half Notes' Column. Intermittently for about seven years, Nina has been a participant in a research study, The Genetics of Absolute Pitch, headed up by a prominent professor at North Shore University in Long Island. Meanwhile, Nina has been working on charts and arrangements for her future (14-song, with about 8 originals) CD project, which she will produce. She has started training on Finale 2008 software in line with this project, with a goal of starting to record sometime in 2008. For performance schedule, more information, and/or to book Nina (either solo or with one of her All Key'd Up groups of various sizes) for engagements, please visit her website (which also has contact information, music clips, more photos, and other news) - www.ninabeck.com.