Continuing in the tradition of drummer bandleaders such as Max Roach, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Andrew Cyrille, Milford Graves and Jack DeJohnette, Reggie Nicholson has firmly established his reputation in this great tradition.
Reggie first gained a reputation as an outstanding drummer and percussionist in his hometown of Chicago. In 1979, he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a consortium of composers and performers devoted to the art of improvisation and the creation of original music. Nicholson forged a musical relationship with members of the group including Muhal Richard Abrams, Mwata Bowden, Anthony Braxton, Phil Cohran, Ernest Dawkins, Douglas Ewart, Alvin Felder, Joseph Jarman, Steve McCall, Amina Claudine Myers, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, Rita Warford, and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. In 1984, Nicholson premiered his compositions for trio, which included AACM members Light Henry Huff and Yosef Ben Israel. This was Nicholson’s first “Concept” that established his own compositional approach.
Relocated to New York City in 1987, Nicholson has performed with Ahmed Abdullah, Billy Bang, Roy Campbell, Bryan Carrott, Marty Ehrlich, Yuko Fujiyama, Eli Fountain, Dewey Redman, Jon Hendricks, D.D. Jackson, Oliver Lake, George Lewis, and Ned Rothenberg. He has recorded with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Myra Melford, Amina Claudine Myers, Henry Threadgill, Roy Campbell, Yuko Fujiyama, Charles Gayle, Michael Marcus, Butch Morris, Wilber Morris, James Spaulding, and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. Nicholson was nominated for a Cal-Arts Award in 1993.
In 1997, Nicholson recorded, Unnecessary Noise Allowed, his first CD of new compositions for his quintet, The Reggie Nicholson Concept. In 2005, he recorded Percussion Peace for solo percussion and electronics. In 2007, Nicholson composed and performed live Timbre Suite (Tone Colors) for his percussion ensemble. Nicholson’s latest recording, Surreal Feel, shows the maturity and growth of his compositional skills for brass instruments.
Nicholson has performed his music throughout Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City, including in the AACM concert series, Kennedy Center, Roulette, The Stone, Hot House, Rituals, Velvet Lounge, the Interpretations concert series, Constellations, Vision Festival, and Sistas’ Place. He has performed in many clubs and festivals throughout Europe and Japan.