Professor Stuart Nicholson - Author, Lecturer & Critic

Stuart Nicholson studied music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama.  He led a jazz-rock band in the 1970s, appearing on BBC TV, BBC Radio and ITV.  His adaptation of a traditional Welsh folksong recorded by his band was used as a signature tune by the popular BBC Radio Wales programme Sportstime for over ten years and  was a Logo Records recording artist.  After ceasing playing professionally in 1980 he became increasingly involved in music journalism, which he has pursued full-time since 1991.

His first book, ‘Jazz: The Modern Resurgence’ appeared in 1990.  A detailed overview of jazz to be heard in the 1980s, it received widespread acclaim on publication and is now regarded as the definitive work on what was an important renascent decade for jazz.  Biographies of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holdiay followed and Duke Ellington followed, all again receiving the highest accolades.

‘Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved To  A New Address)’ prompted pianist and acclaimed author of ‘The History of Jazz’, Ted Gioia to claim that the author “…may be the most perceptive critic writing about jazz today”. A much sought-after title, in 2009, Stuart was commissioned to write a follow-up, provisionally titled ‘Jazz: A History of the Future.’

In 1999 Stuart contributed two chapters to ‘The Guitar In Jazz’.  In December 1999 ‘The Essential Jazz Records Vol. 2’, written in collaboration with the distinguished writers Max Harrison and Eric Thacker, was published. Analysing in detail and depth 250 recordings made between 1945 and the present day, it was one of the most ambitious undertakings yet seeking to chronicle contemporary recorded jazz, running in excess of 1,000 pages of musical analysis and discussion.

He has contributed chapters to ‘The Cartoon Music Book’ (2002) and ‘The Cambridge Companion to Jazz’ (2003), contributed to ‘The Encyclopaedia of the Harlem Renaissance’ (2005) and is a co-author (and the only non-American) with such distinguished US jazz writers as Ted Gioia, Peter Watrous, John Szwed, Ben Ratcliff, Will Friedwald and others of the book ‘Future Jazz’ (2002).

Stuart is also a seasoned speaker, commentator and guest lecturer, with regular worldwide appearances and engagements as panellist, keynote speaker, interviewer and interviewee.  He is also a sought after judge and panel Chair for various Jazz awards, including the European Jazz Prize (Austria) and the Australian Jazz Awards.