Matt Nelson – piano; Graham Czach – bass; Matt Nischan – drums.
Recorded 6/6 and 6/13/2010.
Produced by Nick Eipers and Matt Nelson. Engineered by Nick Eipers.
One of Downbeat Magazine's "Best CDs of 2011"
4 Stars! (“Excellent”) – Downbeat Magazine
#6 in Neil Tesser’s Top Ten Chicago Jazz Discs of 2010
One of JazzChicago.net's Top Chicago Recordings of 2010
#79 in Roots Music Report's Top 100 Jazz Albums of 2011
“...Nelson leads a piano trio, a hardly uncommon route, although a quartet would have provided a safety net... the opener, "Infatuation," dispels such concerns... My favorite track may be "Lady Luna"... Nelson's reading demonstrates restraint, an impressive grasp of dynamics, and a nice crescendo at the end. Bassist Graham Czach's well-constructed solo also deserves props... As it turns out, the album's title is misleading - Nelson is looking forward, not backward. With chops, taste and an evolving repertoire, you can hardly blame him.”
- Eric Fine, Downbeat Magazine
“On his impressive debut, Chicago pianist Matt Nelson distinguishes himself as a tasty player with a penchant for uncommon lyricism... The collection also includes three introspective pieces that showcase Nelson's crystalline touch and thoughtful approach to solo piano.”
- Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times Magazine
“...compositions that cover a lot of ground stylistically, and improvisations that tower above those of most other twentysomething pianists. His writing makes unusually good use of rhythm and tempo to define his melodies; his soloing reveals a tremendous control of dynamics and articulation. His improvised lines expand and deepen through the use of internal rhymes and implied harmonies, and he uses his command of accents and ornamentation to turn a mere rendition into an actual arrangement... a glorious debut from a pianist worth watching.”
- Alex Marianyi, AllAboutJazz.com
“The sentimentality of his ballad playing and the keen musical citation of past generations of jazz musicians clearly display the conversation he's having with his own past, and his dedication to music... Without losing momentum in his constant foray into modernity, Nelson
manages to remain firmly rooted in the rich tradition of jazz piano playing, at times sounding like a 1960s-era Herbie Hancock and at other times sounding like a current-day Brad Mehldau. He also accomplishes this by finding a stable blend of more contemporary sounding, ECM-like tunes (”Lady Luna,” “Revisited”) and straight-up, hard-swingin' tracks (”Compliments,” “Dave's Blues”). Nelson maintains the balance by revealing his personal side through “Matthew My Boy,” a song that his father wrote for him many years ago, and the maniac side with the opening track, “Infatuation.””
- Neil Tesser, Examiner.com
“Young keyboard player Matt Nelson is one of the up-and-coming stars of the instrument in Chicago... Backed by long-time associates — drummer Matt Nischan and bassist Graham Czach, Nelson and his trio immediately leap into action on the energy-filled piano trio "Infatuation" — an ever-shifting, highly-rhythmic composition... The brief and sensitive "Closing the Door" (one of three Nischan compositions) bridges the way to the gently waltzing "Quiet Love (And Sunshine)" — which displays Nelson's mature compositional style in its fullest... Nostalgiamaniac is a satisfying release from a pianist who clearly has a bright future.
- Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net
“...the thoughtful yet upbeat “Matthew My Boy,” a piece transcribed for trio by Nelson from a tune his father composed on guitar for him when he was a child, the ensemble sounds almost like a chamber piece, while on loosely swinging “Dave’s Blues” the group demonstrates their funky hard bop chops... Czach’s sensitive bass, both in his intensely complex improvisational flights and in group play, together with Nischan’s quietly insistent drumming, complement Nelson’s virtuostic pianism adding another dimension to this interesting album....a talented composer and pianist and his trio at the beginning of a career that, if this debut is any indication, promises to be an outstanding one.”
- Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine
“... the best piano-trio album to come out of Chicago in 2010...
Throughout this album, Nelson’s piano essays demonstrate his easy embrace of the modern jazz piano tradition, handed down from Bill Evans and Horace Silver to Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, and thence to Mulgrew Miller and James Williams and onto the next generation of imperturbably gifted players (such as Eric Reed, Geoff Keezer, and Orrin Evans)...
The real test of this album lies in throwing it into the deep end of the pool: comparing it with piano-trio projects from across the nation, where the competition is naturally fiercer. Even among those, I’ll place Nostalgiamaniac among the year’s top four or five, along with those of such well established players as Fred Hersch and Jason Moran.”
- Neil Tesser (from the album notes)
After several years of hearing his dad playing the guitar around the house and of being enthralled with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the virtuosic piano stylings of the late Johnny Costa on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Matt Nelson asked his parents for piano lessons at the age of 5. It was only a year later when he met lifelong friend and musical companion, future drummer and audio engineer, Matt Nischan. As kids, the two Matts spent hours jamming, attempting to pick out melodies and beats from current rock and pop songs and various Nintendo games by ear.
At age 13, Nelson hit an impasse with his piano studies and began studying jazz with pianist Tara Singer. It was with Singer that Nelson was introduced to the basics of the jazz language, as well as being introduced to Chick Corea’s “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs,” an extremely influential record for Nelson. Nelson continued studying with Singer through the end of his high school years. While in high school, Nelson also spent time studying drums and percussion, including vibraphone and marimba.
Directly after high school, Nelson and Nischan entered a long period of creativity and musical exploration. Both decided to attend the College of Lake County before leaving town for a university, and Nischan had purchased a home digital recording rig. The pair spent months writing and recording music at Nelson’s house; several of the tunes on “Nostalgiamaniac” were conceptualized at this time. Finally, in 2003, Nelson moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College Chicago. It was there where he met a core group of like-minded young musicians, some he has been collaborating with ever since (Aaron Koppel, Brad Dickert, Robbie Tucker, Matthew Santos, Sarah Marie Young). Nelson studied jazz piano and arranging at Columbia, developing musical skills and relationships that continue to be fruitful for Nelson’s career.
Currently, he can be found performing and recording with a multitude of artists and projects around the Chicago area. Matt regularly performs with Grammy-nominated artist Matthew Santos (who just released his latest album, “This Burning Ship of Fools”), rock phenom Graham Czach (also the bassist in the Matt Nelson Trio), jazz musicians Aaron Koppel (recently featured in Downbeat magazine), Tim Seissor, Shawn Maxwell, Sarah Marie Young, and Keri Johnsrud. He has also recorded and arranged for acclaimed hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, and is planning on touring with Lupe’s band at Australia’s Big Day Out festival in January, 2011. Matt also records, arranges, and produces for one of Krakow, Poland’s most prominent bands, Let Me Introduce You to the End, and has performed a number of times with the band in Poland and eastern Europe. Their next album, “Of Ghost” is scheduled to be released in late 2010.