“Josh is that rare young musician who has not only a wealth of study and experience under his belt (all but assuring him a prominent place in jazz music), but he also possesses those rarest of musical attributes: a touch, a tone, and a “sound” that are all identifiably his own.” — Peter Erskine, legendary drummer
Born and raised in Southern California, pianist-composer-bandleader Josh Nelson has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, John Clayton, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers and Peter Erskine. Nelson toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for six years and continues to tour with vocalists Gaby Moreno, Freda Payne, Alicia Olatuja, Sara Gazarek, accordionist Richard Galliano, saxophonist Tom Scott, multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and violinist Christian Howes. He taught jazz for four years at Soka University and more recently at Cal State University Northridge. In 2006, Nelson was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
His debut album as a leader, 2004’s Anticipation, garnered attention while his 2007 followup, Let it Go, was hailed by Jazz Times, All About Jazz and Jazz Review as a fully-realized breakthrough album. Nelson’s next album, 2009’s I Hear a Rhapsody, had him re-imagining Jerry Goldsmith’s “Theme From Chinatown,” Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day” and Elliott Smith’s “Everything Means Nothing To Me” while contributing seven affecting originals. With 2011’s sci-fi influenced Discoveries, Nelson introduced his Discovery Project, an immersive multi-media presentation combining video, performance art, light and art installations with his original music. He followed with another ambitious Discovery Project in 2015’s Exploring Mars, which wedded evocative musical themes to spectacular NASA/JPL video footage of the Red Planet.