Bryan Nichols is a Minneapolis-based pianist and composer, working primarily in jazz and improvised music. He returned to the Twin Cities in 2005 after four busy years in Chicago where he played with jazz heavyweights like Nicole Mitchell, Ernest Dawkins, Von Freeman and Hamid Drake. Since returning to Minneapolis, he leads and composes for his own trio, his quintet and his large group, We Are Many. He also plays regularly with Gang Font, Kelly Rossum Quartet, James Buckley Trio, and Zacc Harris Quartet, in addition to being an in-demand freelancer. He teaches jazz piano at MacPhail Center for Music and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and he was also recently named artistic director of Jazz is NOW!, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit supporting regional music and composers.
Bryan was awarded a 2010-11 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, a prestigious and competitive award given to Minnesota musicians. He was also awarded a 2004 residency by Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, given to outstanding, emerging jazz performer/composers. His work as a composer earned him a subito grant from the American Composers Forum. He has performed at most music venues in the Twin Cities and Chicago, in addition to international festivals including Sons d’Hiver (Paris, France) and Kerava Jazz Festival (Kerava, Finland) as well as local and regional festivals including the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival. Bryan appears on recent recordings by James Buckley, Gang Font, Chris Morrissey, Gordon Johnson, Kelly Rossum, Todd Clouser, Gayngs and many more. In May 2011 Bryan released his debut recording as a leader, Bright Places, containing nine original compositions for his quintet.
Ted Olsen is a bassist and composer based in Minneapolis, MN. As a bandleader his groups have been featured at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, The Artists’ Quarter, and Icehouse in the Twin Cities. He has also performed at Nocturne Jazz Club in Denver, CO & Festival No Improviso in Curitiba, Brazil. In composition he won the 2012 Eric Stokes Song Contest held by the American Composers’ Forum. Additionally in 2015 he was a finalist in the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers’ competition. As a sideman he is regularly enlisted by top Twin Cities jazz luminaries and has also branched out into working with artists from the folk, rock, R&B, and contemporary classical scenes.