NICK MACLEAN is “one of the most gifted young Toronto pianists to come along in the last few years ” (Adrean Farrugia, Juno winning jazz pianist) and has quickly become one of the most in demand 20-something piano players in that city’s bustling jazz scene. Nick received his Bachelors of Music from Humber College in 2013, having studied with David Restivo, Bernie Senensky and Nancy Walker. He then went on to do a Masters in Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto researching synthesizer pedagogy while studying under David Occhipinti, Andrew Downing, Chris Donnelly and David Braid. Braid in particular had an enormous influence on how Maclean approaches playing and composing especially as it relates to solo piano performance. Additional musical influences include the likes of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Brad Meldau, Weather Report, Snarky Puppy, Kneebody, Hiromi Uehara, Art Tatum, Miles Davis, Avishai Cohen (bass), Vijay Iyer, and Michel Camilo.
Maclean’s debut ensemble SNAGGLE, a groove-based all-original eclectic electric-jazz project, sports a 6-man lineup, compositional odysseys and is often compared by media to Snarky Puppy. The band has an EP and two full length albums under it’s belt the last of which, THE LONG SLOG, was released in 2016 on the award winning record label BROWNTASAURAS records and received much praise from luminous figures in the national and international jazz community:
“…young pianist Nick Maclean’s 6-man electric-jazz group SNAGGLE is most impressive! The music on Long Slog is very, very challenging, yet groovy, soulful & exploratory at the same time… Extremely well performed, written and executed… Reminds me of a band I used to play in!”
– Randy Brecker, multi-Grammy winning trumpet legend
“Maclean and the members of Snaggle, with the help of Brownman, have crafted a very personal and compelling musical statement, bursting with wide-ranging influences tied together by a sense of unified purpose, chock-full of hidden treasures and layers to be uncovered through repeated listening. So settle in, close your eyes, and let the voyage unfold.”
– David Restivo, Canadian jazz piano giant
The NICK MACLEAN QUARTET is his straight-ahead hard-swinging quartet featuring internationally acclaimed BROWNMAN ALI on trumpet as well as some of the cities most in demand 20-somethings: JESSE DIETSCHI on bass and TYLER GOERTZEN on drums. The Nick Maclean Quartet features compositions from all band members done with a modern twist on the exploratory spirit of Herbie Hancock’s primordial 1960’s quartet. The quartet has been performing steadily since it’s inception in June of 2015 including three performances at the 2016 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The group will be recording an album of their own in early 2017.
Maclean’s SOLO PIANO PROJECT is two years into it’s development and is a deep examination of the possibilities and capabilities of the piano. This is one of Nick’s most exploratory avenues both as a composer and a performer as it is a medium which offers him complete compositional control. Nick’s work draws from a wide range of influences and constantly shifts textures and colours throughout his pieces. Maclean is preparing for a solo album which will be recorded in 2018. The future is bright for this young visionary as he continues his upward ascent in jazz art forms of all shapes and sizes.
Nick also writes an educational blog detailing his ongoing research into synthesizer performance.