Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson


The Josh Nelson Band is dedicated to performing new original jazz music as well as fresh interpretations of jazz standards.


A native of Southern California, Josh maintains a busy schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist. At only 28 years old, he has made a solid impression on the jazz and songwriting scene. Josh has performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Ralph Moore, Christian McBride, Anthony Wilson, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Ernie Watts, Tom Scott, Alex Acuna, Abraham Laboriel, Seamus Blake, Matt Wlson, Jack Sheldon, Peter Erskine, Bob Hurst, Queen Latifah, and Sara Gazarek to name a few.
Josh produced his independent debut album at age 19 (First Stories, 1998).Writer Mac Macdonald said the album displayed "solid, confident musicianship....with an innate sense of swing and rhythm." Josh's following projects include The Leadwell Project (2002), and Emergence (2001), both EP-length projects which demonstrate his versatility as a pianist and composer and also showcase the talent of Los Angeles' up-and-coming jazz musicians. With Anticipation (2004), Josh continued to focus on his original music. Josh recently signed to the indie jazz label Native Language Music, and his first studio album for them is due out in Fall of 2007. Titled “Let it Go”, it features the talents of Seamus Blake (sax), Matt Wilson (drums), Darek Oles (bass), Anthony Wilson (guitar), and Sara Gazarek (vocals),
Josh received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Long Beach State University. While there he was privileged to study with jazz pianist Cecilia Coleman, as well as with jazz icons Buddy Collette and John Prince. While in high school, Josh also attended summer jazz camps through the Berklee College of Music, studying with Neil Olmstead, Tiger Okoshi, and Kim Steiner. Other mentors include Bill Cunliffe, Alan Pasqua, Putter Smith, and Benny Green. Josh is the recipient of countless honors, awards, and scholarships. In his high school years, he received the Louis Armstrong Award, the John Phillip Sousa Award, as well as numerous "Outstanding Soloist Awards" at music competitions from around the country. Most recently, he received the $10,000 Tom Talbert Scholarship. Josh has also been a member of many honor groups, including the SCSBOA Honor Jazz Band, the SCSBOA All-Stars, and the Grammy Band. Most recently, he was a semi-finalist in the prestigious International Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition which was held in Washington D.C. in 2006.
In addition to his jazz endeavors, Josh continues to pursue his interest in other areas of music. He currently serves as Musical Director for jazz vocal sensation Sara Gazarek, having completed tours of the U.S., Japan, and Canada in the last year. Josh’s compositions for Sara have garnered him international acclaim, with Sara’s album reaching number 10 on the Billboard Jazz Charts. He has toured Taiwan twice performing and arranging film scores with the Hollywood Pops Orchestra and the Ars Nova Chamber Ensemble. He has performed with film composer Michael Kamen, Monty Python co-founder Eric Idle, and actors Jon Lovitz, and Clint Eastwood. Compositions and performances of his regularly appear on the television show "The Division" (Lifetime), "Lucky” (FX), “Jack and Bobby” (WB), and the Forrest Whittaker movie “First Daughter” (Paramount). His time is also spent maintaining a private studio of jazz students, teaching for the Thelonious Monk Institute After School Jazz Program, and as a guest lecturer for the UCLA Jazz Combo Program.
Josh keeps a busy performance and recording schedule in Southern California and around the U.S. He performs regularly with his own Trio and Quintet, the Sara Gazarek Band, the Jack Sheldon California Cool Quartet and Big Band, the Cross/Hart Jazz Experience, and the Jennifer Leitham Trio. Josh also arranges and composes music for vocalists Sara Gazarek, Annie Sellick, Rhiannon, Natasha Miller, and Susan Sinner.With his own music, Josh is always looking to the next project. He draws from a wealth of experience and influences (including Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett) while keeping one foot in the jazz tradition and the other in a modern forward-thinking approach. Quoting drummer Peter Erskine said: “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.


I'm Coming Home

Written By: Josh Nelson and Sean Carbone

I'm Coming Home
©2007 Josh Nelson (Steel Bird Music, BMI) and Sean Carbone (Boneworld Music, BMI)

It's been a long, long year
I wish that you were here
every song I sing reminds me of one thing
I know I'm coming home.

This year, I was away from you the most
travelin' all the time from coast to coast
every other day I'm another mile away
But I know I'm coming home.

All those faces and all those places I know
I'm a lucky girl
Changing faces, changing places I know
yes, I know.

It's been a long, long year
I wish that you were here
just another day, then I’ll be on my way.
I know I’m coming home.

instr. solo over 2 verses


It’s been a long, long, long year
I wish that you were here
one more show to play, and I’ll be home to stay,
I know I’m coming home.
I know I’m coming home, I know I’m coming home.


"First Stories" (1998)
"Emergence" (2001- EP)
"The Leadwell Project" (2002-EP)
"Anticipation" (2004-light radio airplay)
"Let it Go" (to be released 9/25/2007)