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.
“Meet James Buckley, the hardest-working musician in the Twin Cities” -Erin Roof, Citypages. James performed with Har Mar Superstar for an extensive world tour, highlighted by a live television performance on "Le Petit Journal" in Paris, France. James performed upright and electric bass on Bon Iver's album, 22, A Million, nominated for Best Alternative Album in the 2017 Grammy's. Most recently James performed bass on the new P.O.S album "Chill, Dummy".James performed live with Lizzo on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, December 2016. James has toured internationally with the indie-folk group, The Pines, and appears on their Red House Records releases "Tremolo", "Dark So Gold", "Pasture: Folk Songs", and "Above The Prairie". James recorded bass with Minneapolis super-group, "Gayngs" on their "The Last Prom on Earth" album, and played their performance at First Avenue, along with Coachella Music Festival April 2011. James co-founded and was bassist for Minneapolis' circuit-bending noisy pop-funk trio Mystery Palace, fronted and produced by Ryan Olcott of 12 Rods fame. James appears live and on recordings with Emmy Award-Winning, Universal Records Artists, The Blenders.