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Music impacts life. Life impacts music. For jazz pianist Nick Sanders, his life experiences and his musical influences have converged in a perfect storm, creating a truly fresh musical voice – wholly original yet clearly shaped by the masters he has studied and embraced. His unique sound is profound, soulful and rich, resonating with the moody isolation that characterizes so much of modern life, yet also with our deep yearning for human connection. Fred Hersch states, "In these days of cookie-cutter pianists, Nick Sanders is a true original. He is already a world-class pianist-- and an intriguing and quirky composer as well."
Sanders is the product of a musically and culturally rich childhood. His Cuban mother, drummer father and New Orleans upbringing insured an eclectic ear and musical sensibility. Sanders began playing music before the age of four as a quick study on the drums, able to almost instantly learn the second-line beat. He tackled the piano in second grade and began to show remarkable promise as a classical performer, winning numerous regional and national competitions.
It was a chance meeting with pianist Danilo Perez who was performing at the New Orleans jazz institution Snug Harbor that would change his trajectory. Sanders had been studying classical piano at the famed New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and asked Perez’s opinion on when and if he should change to the school’s celebrated jazz program. Perez’s answer was, “Now! Do it!” The next semester, Sanders was in the jazz program. The following year his trio was voted Best Ensemble, and Sanders himself won Best Soloist at the North Texas State Jazz Festival. He appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and in 2005 began performing regularly at local jazz clubs.
That same year, 2005, would be unusually poignant for young Sanders. He experienced personal tragedy as he witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina firsthand and the passing of his mother. Though thoroughly shaken, his dedication, hard work and ability earned Sanders a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music. He finished his Master of Music degree there in 2012 after studying with the College’s exceptional staff, including Danilo Perez (his inspiration to study jazz), Jason Moran, Fred Hersch, John McNeil, Ran Blake and Cecil McBee.
His piano trio, featuring Henry Fraser- bass and Connor Baker-drums will be releasing their Sunnyside Records debut record entitled "Nameless Neighbors" on June 4th. It was recorded in Ambient Studios in Connecticut and produced by Fred Hersch.