Nick Manson

Nick Manson

 Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Nick Manson is a talented, two time Emmy Award winning, jazz pianist and keyboardist. His piano playing is swinging, lyrical, consistently inventive, and quite individual. Nick's performances are both accessible and creative, appealing to a wide audience yet remaining true to himself.


Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick remembers his early years. "My grandfather was a classical pianist so I heard classical music early on. When I was ten I switched from a home organ which I hated to the piano, having nine years of classical piano lessons. I first heard jazz when I was in the seventh grade and enjoyed seeing the high school stage band. I was really into big bands and that is how I got into jazz, listening to the music of Buddy Rich, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. I was also inspired by the Beatles and Elton John to want to make my own music." While in high school, Nick went to Stan Kenton clinics, developing his skills as a composer and an arranger. He competed at all-state festivals in Washington and remembers his piano teacher giving him a copy of Chick Corea's Light As A Feather which made a strong impression. He also picked up some very valuable playing experience in an unusual way. "My parents had a restaurant. When I was a sophomore in high school, they would hire all of the top local players from the Northwest with the condition that they would let me play piano. So I had a chance to play three nights a week as a teenager. It was an invaluable learning experience."

After high school, Nick Manson attended, on scholarship, the Berklee College Of Music. He was inspired and influenced greatly by Dave Mash and George Garzone in composition, arranging and improvisation. When he was 19 he moved to Los Angeles where he played with Lenny Kravitz's first band and attended the Dick Grove School. He became adept at using MIDI and electronics, and was one of the first to play, in concert, Yamaha's prototype of the DX7.

After moving back to Seattle, Nick became very busy doing production work while also playing jazz and creating music in a variety of settings. During his periods in Seattle and back in Los Angeles for a decade, he was quite productive, producing, arranging and performing music on CDs and for films, television and commercials. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on the Seattle television show How 'Bout That, for best piece of music in a musical segment and for best musical production in a half-hour television show. He arranged more than 1,200 titles for the Muzak corporation and currently has original music playing internationally on Muzak, DMX and Spafax. For much of a decade, Nick was a major player in the development and design of Atmosphere, Stylus, Trilogy and Stylus RMX for Spectrasonics virtual instrument plug-ins. He has owned and operated his own recording studio for the past 20 years and runs his own CD label, Manasus Music. He has been a guest lecturer and clinician at many schools (including USC, the Los Angeles Music Academy, Iolani School in Honolulu, Bremerton Community College and Edmonds Community College) and he taught music theory at the Art Institute of Seattle in the early 1990s. Currently Nick is a professor in the Jazz Studies Program at Mesa Community College. In addition, his trios and quartets have performed dozens of times for Microsoft's functions in addition to Bill Gates' wedding and 20th high school reunion.

Even during his busiest periods working in commercial music, Nick Manson played jazz. He has performed everywhere from the Kennedy Center to the Blue Note Japan, Blue Note Italy, Billboard Live Japan, Concord Jazz Festival, Jazz Port Townsend, The Baked Potato, The Jazz Bakery, The Telluride Jazz Festival, The Chandler Jazz Festival and Seattle's Jazz Alley, also touring in Europe, South American and Asia. He co-wrote the gospel standard "Jesus, Mighty Fortress" with Terry Clark and Roby Duke, and has worked with Christopher Cross, John Patitucci, Ernestine Anderson, Jackie Ryan, B.B. King, Joe Magnarelli, Eric Rasmussen, Steve Huffsteter, Kim Richmond, Ohad Talmor, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Plas Johnson, Jeff Kashiwa, Don Lanphere, Jay Thomas, Deniece Williams, Roby Duke and Ernie Watts among others.

In January 2007, the pianist and his wife, Nona, moved to Phoenix and bacame a Phoenix favorite nearly over night, packing the house in local jazz venues in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. Nick still performs often in Los Angeles and continues to perform around the globe with his own unique trios and quartets and backing up famous artists when needed.

"Every time I play, I want to sound like myself and add to the legacy of the music. That is my main goal; to sound like who I am as a person and to play music that both challenges me and that people will enjoy."

Scott Yanow --April 2007



Written By: N/A




Available At iTunes, CD Baby,, Rhapsody, Snocap and many other retailers on the web.

Set List

Original compositions from my CD releases and/or Jazz Standards (Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, etc.) as well as selections from the American Song Book (Gershwin, Porter, Beatles, Ray Charles, etc.)

Set times are typically 45 minutes. Set times for concert venues may vary to suit the promoter's need.

Jazz & Standards (sample listing):

All The Things You Are
Alone Together
Blue In Green
Blue Monk
Dolphin Dance
Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
El Gaucho
Fly Me To The Moon
Foggy Day
Groovin' High
Gentle Rain
How Deep Is The Ocean
How Insensitive
I Fall In Love Too Easily
In Your Own Sweet Way
Joy Spring
Just Friends
Killer Joe
Love For Sale
Lover Man
My Funny Valentine
My One And Only Love
Night And Day
Nostalgia In Times Square
Our Love Is Here To Stay
Over The Rainbow
Polka Dots And Moonbeams
Prelude To A Kiss
'Round Midnight
Someday My Prince Will Come
Take Five
There Is No Greater Lo