The instantly recognizable style and sound of Reggie Nicholson has elevated him to
one of the most distinctive, inventive and inspirational drummer/percussionist of his generation; a formidable technician, but one who uses his considerable skills constructively and with infinite taste.
Nicholson first gained a reputation as a drummer and percussionist in his hometown of Chicago. A South side native, he graduated from Cornell Elementary, where he played drums for the “Area A Band” and from Hirsch High School, as a concert band percussionist. He then made good use of a 4-year music scholarship to Chicago State University’s percussion program. During his early days before moving to NYC, Nicholson worked around Chicago with many great musicians, and performed regularly at the famous organ club, The Other Place.
A long-time member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), he has utilized the founding principal of the AACM; to compose and perform original music that expands the traditions.
Nicholson has performed and recorded with a wide variety of jazz and new music luminaries such as Jon Logan, Larry Frazier, Mendai, Vince Willis, Phil Cohran, Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers, Henry Threadgill, Ernest Dawkins, Leroy Jenkins, Edward Wilkerson, Hanah Jon Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Sam Newsome, Myra Melford, Wilber Morris, Elektra Kurtis, Billy Bang, Butch Morris, Yuko Fujiyama, Oliver Lake, Fay Victor, Roy Campbell, just to name a few.
As a composer, he was nominated twice for the Cal Arts Composition Award in 1993/1994. Concerts of his compositions have been presented at Roulette, Interpretations, Jazz Shares, Firehouse 12, Constellations, Vision Festival, and AACM concert series. Nicholson has also toured throughout USA, Europe, and Japan.
His recordings, “Unnecessary Noise Allowed" (1997), debut of his quintet the Reggie Nicholson Concept. “Percussion Peace”(2005) is a solo recording experimenting with electronics and percussion instruments. In 2007, the premier of “Timbre Suite” (Tone Colors) was recorded live for the debut performance of the Percussion Concept. ”Surreal Feel”(2008) shows the maturity and growth of his composing skills with music for brass quartet with drums and percussion.
“Mettle” (2018), solo percussion. His latest recording, “No Preservatives Added” (2020), presents a studio recording of the Percussion Concept new compositions.
As an educator, Nicholson has taught drums for the AACM School of Music, general music and band director for the NYC Department of Education, and drums for Harlem School of the Arts.
Currently, Nicholson is continuing to explore the aesthetics of his musical world.