Nikolaj Hess

“A delightful, reflective, almost pastoral use of light and shade. If Chopin had been born in New York and received tuition from say Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett he may have sounded like this” writes ‘Bebop spoken here’ (UK) beautifully about Nikolaj Hess.

“Gold dust. Nikolaj Hess’ fingers on the keyboard is an alchemical affair. An album with a wide range of expression, yet spiritually coherent.” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)

“the mastery of Mommaas and Hess completely overwhelms any feeling of normal. This is art of the highest standard, and a record which will most definitely be a “best of” 2016.” (allaboutjazz 2016)

“Hess’ fluidity, harmonic command and palpable determination at the keys, a compelling spectacle~David R. Adler, AAJ (2010) (LIve @ the Kitano)

“Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess  careened between heart-melting delicacy and almost Chopinesque virtuosity. Hess is clearly equipped to face the most gargantuan technical demands, but it was the incredible fecundity of his imagination that impressed the most”(Peter Quinn Art Desk, London)

”No matter whether he is working to unite different musical worlds, or getting down on the anatomy of the groove, Hess’ sound world is one that gathers many different aspects of tradition and culture. Global Motion + and The Champ provide two pieces of the puzzle that makes up his many-faceted vision” Jakob Baekgaard Allaboutjazz
Latest works releases

Nikolaj Hess Micro Chapters (Gateway), solopiano/effects and a section with Praghs symphonys string section (all music by NH), Nikolaj Hess “Rhapsody”, Impressions Of Hammershøi, (Japanese release on Yoko Yoneyamas Cloud Feb 2016), written by NH for his concert series ”Impressions Of Hammershøi” at SMKs Hammershøi udstilling i New York, Hess/Mommaas Ballads and Standards (Sunnyside Records 2016), Mikroskop (april 2016) duo with Sissel Vera Pettersen, 3xHess Music for Mum and Dad (winner DMA 2014 best jazz album), Hess/AC/Hess Spacelab (nominated best jazz album DMA 2014), Nikolaj Hess “Trio” (chosen as best jazz album by Politiken 2013, nominated best jazz album DMA 2013), Global Motion+ (nominated best jazz album DMA 2011), Sissel Vera Pettersen/Nikolaj Hess “A Word” (nominated best jazz album DMA 2011) Nikolaj Hess Spacelab The Champ, Hessismore “Demoncrazy” (2011), Hessismore My Head Is A Ballroom” (2014), Caroline Henderson “Lonely House (co-producer, pianist),  Caroline Henderson “Jazz Collection” (pianist, co-producer, arrangør). Furthermore NHs jazz piano can be heard on a long line of international jazz releases.
Has written music for film, a.o. “Meeres Stille” Juliane Fezer, “Melancholia” Lars Von Trier, and made music for cross-genre project with a.o. Mie Olise, Rose Eken, Krueger & Pardeller (Austria), Peter Kyle (USA), Tim Rushton (UK/DK)

NH  has composed and arranget for various projects and settings, solo piano, duo, trio, quartet to tentet, cross-over ensembles, classical ensembles, symphony orchestra, choir, etc.

NH’s music can also be found  around the world in installations, at other peoples performances, short-films and websites.

NH has toured extensively in DK, Norge, Sverige, Island, Færøerne, Finland, Grønland, Holland, England, Tyskland, Italien, Frankrig, Ungarn, Bulgarien, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sydafrika, Tyrkiet, USA, Kina, Japan.

NH has worked and/or recorded with Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Marc Mommaas, Jay Anderson, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, Chris Cheek, Ben Monder, Greg Hutchinson, Thomas Morgan, Jeff Ballard, Tim Rushton, Donny McCaslin, Jochen Rueckert, Clarence Penn, Chr McBride, Hal Wilner, Robert Wilson, Folkloric Selamta, Caroline Henderson (music director/producer), Etta Cameron, Palle Mikkelborg, Marilyn Mazur, Fela Kuti, Dele Sosimi,  Dennis Charles, Hessismore, and many many others

Finished his studies magnum com laude at RMC 1991, followed by private studies in West-Africa (West-African drumming and folclore music in general), (6 months 92/93) and USA (93, 97/98, 01, 05) focusing on composition and piano.

DMA winner 2015 best jazz release, Politiken best jazz release of 2013, DMA nominated best jazz release 2013, 2015, best vocal jazz release  2012. Winner in the category best European Jazz Pianist under 25 at the RAI competition in Rom 1991, gold winner of Berlingske Tidendes young talent competition 1989. Nominated for best music in Film at The International Filmmaker Festival i London (23-28 feb 2015) for his music for German movie Meeres Stille

NH is the artistic director of Jazz Denmarks prominent Summer Session since 2013, and has taught composition, piano, ear-training, theory, ensemble playing, arranging and artistic development at RMC, DJM, DKDM, New School University USA, William Paterson University USA, Conservatoire Superieure National De Paris, New York Jazz Workshop, Bogazi University Istanbul, etc. He currently holds a part time associate professorship at RMC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes:
“Denmark’s Nikolaj Hess has combined with Scherr and Wollesen to produce an album that emphasizes the lyrical and poetic, mood-filled and simple, raw, unpolished and yet virtuosity and refined.”  “a delightful, reflective, almost pastoral use of light and shade. If Chopin had been born in New York and received tuition from say Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett he may have sounded like this ” (bebop spoken here UK)
“a mesmerizing level of intensity at low volume and slow pace” (jazzword blogspot)
“a subdued and elegant new set featuring interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, as well as his own engaging originals” (Time Out New York)

“Gold dust. Nikolaj Hess’ fingers on the keyboard is an alchemical affair. An album with a wide range of expression, yet spiritually coherent.” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)
“Organically overwhelming piano playing, rhythmically plush, with long beautifully formed lines, contrasting left hand playing and a never ending richness of ideas. The piano keys is like an extensions of Hess’ body. Flying energy and juicy bite” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)

“Hess’ fluidity, harmonic command and palpable determination at the keys, a compelling spectacle~David R. Adler, AAJ (2010) (LIve @ the Kitano)

“Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess  careened between heart-melting delicacy and almost Chopinesque virtuosity. Hess is clearly equipped to face the most gargantuan technical demands, but it was the incredible fecundity of his imagination that impressed the most” (Peter Quinn Art Desk, London)

“Improvisational art at the higest level… B Rabinowitch Politiken”

“Hess version of the music by Carl Nielsen is simply Danish music at its best -T Sjogren Pol”

”Whether working as a sideman or as leader of his own groups, the hallmark of Hess’ work has been his refusal to repeat the set patterns of the past. So it comes as no surprise to find him pursuing two radically different sound worlds that, nonetheless, are tied together by his choice of material and aesthetic sensibility”

“Hess and his unit create a musical language of their own, one which combines the worlds of East and West, Eruope and Amerca into a dusty multicultural stew of bouncing rhythms and complex melodies.”…. ”No matter whether he is working to unite different musical worlds, or getting down on the anatomy of the groove, Hess’ sound world is one that gathers many different aspects of tradition and culture. Global Motion + and The Champ provide two pieces of the puzzle that makes up his many-faceted vision” …. (Jakob Baekgaard All About Jazz 09)….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York / Denmark based piano/ keyboard player, composer, producer, arranger.

His latest album “Trio” with Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen was chosen as the best danish jazz album of 2013, nominated at the DMA and has gotten raving international reviews.

His works also includes composing music for and playing in Lars Von Triers multiple award winning movie “Melancholia”, Juliane Fezers “Meeres Stille”, co-producing and pianoplaying on Caroline Hendersons last 5 albums a Reumert nomination for his trio music with Caroline Henderson for Tim Rushtons “Love Songs” and albums “Hess Global Motion+” with Mommaas, Jeff Ballard, Ben Monder, Tony Moreno and John Hebert and “A Word” with Sissel Vera (both DMA nominated best jazz albums of the year). Hess has worked and recorded with a long list of international jazz legends in Europe, USA, Canada, Israel, Asia, among them Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Hess Is More, Global Motion, Fela Kuti, Caroline Henderson, Chris Cheek, Tyshawn Sorey,Chr McBride, Greg Hutchinson, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jean Luc Ponty, Hal Willner, Dennis Charles, Sissel Vera Pettersen and many many others. Hess was the 2013 ambassador for Danish jazz at the Nordic Cool Festival at Kennedy Center, and earlier with HM Queen Margrethe ll in Tanzania.

NH won the category best European jazz piano player under 25 in the RAI competition in Rome, won the gold prize in “Berlingske Tidendes” competition of non-classical music in Copenhagen; and was a finalist in Leverkusener Jazztages “European Young Artist” competition in Germany.

Having graduated from Rhythmic Conservatory at 22, he was the first to get topgrade 13 for his concert performance in piano, his major subject. He later studied in the US with Richie Beirach, Danilo Perez and Gary Dial. He also studied in West Africa with master drummer Odartey and at Legon University in Accra, Ghana.

His numerous recordings as a leader, co-leader and sideman also includes  Spacelab The Champ (w AC and Mikkel Hess), “Coral” w Chris Cheek, Greg Hutchinson, Jens Skou, Nikolaj Hess Trio “Playin” (w Jesper Lundgard & Marilyn Mazur) (Music Mecca), Hess/Lund/Waidtløew/McBride “Back & Forth”, Global Motion (Sunnyside Records), Ulla Henningsen “The Man I Love” (Sony), “Global Motion Trio” (Calibre), Hessismore, “Coral” with Gregory Hutchinson, Chris Cheek & Jens Skou, Etta Cameron & Nikolaj Hess w Friends (w Marilyn Mazur, Palle Mikkelborg, Klavs Hovman, Jens Søndergård),  research&development project “Spoiled Child”, Hessismore “Demoncrazy”, Hessismore “Live At Wood Wood”.

He is leader, co-leader and member of several other groups like NH Quartet, Hessismore, SisselVeraPettersen/NikolajHess, DocStomp aka Spoiled Child, counting and having counted members like Marc Mommaas, John Hebert, Tony Moreno, Jay Anderson, Francois Moutin, Kenny Wolleson, Christian McBride, Greg Hutchinson, Marylin Mazur, Donny McCaslin, Jochen Rueckert, Satoshi Takeishi, Jesper Lundgaard, Mads Vinding, Alex Riel, Lars Danielsson, Jacob Fisher, Johannes Weidenmuller, Tom Rainey, Cameron Brown, Sissel Vera Petersen, Hans Ulrik and Chris Minh Doky.

He has also worked with Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, Hal Willner, Etta Cameron, Ulla Henningsen, Annisette Koppel, Julee Cruise, Jamey Haddad, Ben Street, Ben Allison, Essiet Essiet, Lage Lund, Ron Afif, Michelle Walker, Ed Neumeister, Clarence Penn, Danny Gottlieb, James Genus, David Liebman, Hal Crook, Harwie Swartz, Jean Luc Ponty, Marcello Pelletiri, Andrea Marcelli, Michael Blair, Kysia Bostic, Ed Howard, Youron Israels, Dennis Charles, Doug Raney, Judy Niemack, Cæcilie Norby, Debbie Cameron, Lars Hug, Bob Rockwell, Caroline Henderson, Jukka Perko, Severi Pyysalo, Ed Thigpen, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, and many others. He was the music director for american theater guru Robert Wilson’s “The White Town and is writing music for Lars Von Triers next movie Melancholia”

He has composed and arranged for solo piano, small groups, large string ensemble, big band, choirs and saxophone quartet, for performances all over the world, also representing the best of danish culture at royal visits and state visits abroad. He has also written music for Zentropa, Nimbus Film, Tju Bang Film and others; and for radio: DR, NKR, Hungarian Radio.

He has also worked as a studio musician. His tours include USA, France, the United Kingdom, Africa, Holland, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Farao Islands, Denmark, South, East and Western Africa

He spends part of his time in New York, where he has played at Sweet Basil, Sweet Rhythm, Smoke, Joes Pub, Zinc Bar, 55 Bar, The Blue Note, The Kitano Lounge, The Cutting Room, Cornelia Street Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, Pier 2110, Rainbow Room, C-note, Augies, Showmans Jazzclub, NUBLU and Museum of National History.

For 6 months he lived in Africa, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria and South Africa studying and playing African music.

He has been awarded numerous grants from the Danish government and from private foundations, which has twice included the Bikuben Foundation artist-in-residence in New York.

He is associate professor at The Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, where he is teaching part time. Part of his work includes research/development projects in composition and recording, among them on electronic music, combining computer-based interactive music with acoustic improvisation and composition.

He has also been a guest teacher at New School University, New York; William Paterson University, New Jersey, Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique Paris, Funda College, South Africa; Shuttle 2002 South Africa; IASJ 10th annual congress in Cologne (with Jamey Haddad and Dave Liebman), The Royal Danish Conservatory, and Conservatory of Nonclassical Music in Århus.

Quotes:
“Denmark’s Nikolaj Hess has combined with Scherr and Wollesen to produce an album that emphasizes the lyrical and poetic, mood-filled and simple, raw, unpolished and yet virtuosity and refined.”  “a delightful, reflective, almost pastoral use of light and shade. If Chopin had been born in New York and received tuition from say Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett he may have sounded like this ” (bebop spoken here UK)
“a mesmerizing level of intensity at low volume and slow pace” (jazzword blogspot)
“a subdued and elegant new set featuring interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, as well as his own engaging originals” (Time Out New York)

“Gold dust. Nikolaj Hess’ fingers on the keyboard is an alchemical affair. An album with a wide range of expression, yet spiritually coherent.” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)
“Organically overwhelming piano playing, rhythmically plush, with long beautifully formed lines, contrasting left hand playing and a never ending richness of ideas. The piano keys is like an extensions of Hess’ body. Flying energy and juicy bite” (Chr Munch-Hansen Politiken)

“Hess’ fluidity, harmonic command and palpable determination at the keys, a compelling spectacle~David R. Adler, AAJ (2010) (LIve @ the Kitano)

“Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess  careened between heart-melting delicacy and almost Chopinesque virtuosity. Hess is clearly equipped to face the most gargantuan technical demands, but it was the incredible fecundity of his imagination that impressed the most” (Peter Quinn Art Desk, London)

“Improvisational art at the higest level… B Rabinowitch Politiken”

“Hess version of the music by Carl Nielsen is simply Danish music at its best -T Sjogren Pol”

”Whether working as a sideman or as leader of his own groups, the hallmark of Hess’ work has been his refusal to repeat the set patterns of the past. So it comes as no surprise to find him pursuing two radically different sound worlds that, nonetheless, are tied together by his choice of material and aesthetic sensibility”

“Hess and his unit create a musical language of their own, one which combines the worlds of East and West, Eruope and Amerca into a dusty multicultural stew of bouncing rhythms and complex melodies.”…. ”No matter whether he is working to unite different musical worlds, or getting down on the anatomy of the groove, Hess’ sound world is one that gathers many different aspects of tradition and culture. Global Motion + and The Champ provide two pieces of the puzzle that makes up his many-faceted vision” …. (Jakob Baekgaard All About Jazz 09)….