Josh Nelson born and raised in Southern California, maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist.
At 38 years old, he has already performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Richard Galliano, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, Greg Hutchinson, John Clayton, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Lewis Nash, and Peter Erskine, to name a few.
In 2006, Josh was one of only twelve semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
Josh has recorded for countless albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects: Anticipation (2004) and Let it Go (2007, Native Language Music) both garnered international critical acclaim. Josh’s fourth album, I Hear a Rhapsody (2009), featured his original compositions, standard interpretations, and reinventions of rock tunes. Discoveries (2011), introduced a pairing of classic science fiction ephemera with new compositions for a brass and wind ensemble (featuring a live ongoing video projection and art installation component as well, called The Discovery Project). His new album Exploring Mars (2015) explores musical themes on the Red Planet, along with spectacular NASA/JPL Martian video footage.
Original music and performances of Josh’s have appeared on various prime-time and cable shows and short films, including “Jack and Bobby”, "The Division", and a national Johnson and Johnson commercial. He has also worked with film composer Michael Kamen, and actors Eric Idle, Clint Eastwood, and Jon Lovitz. Josh has earned many awards, scholarships, and accolades over the years, some of which include the Louis Armstrong Award and the John Philip Sousa Award.
Josh has collaborated with vocal talent Sara Gazarek for 10 years. He penned the title track of her debut record, “Yours” (among many others), and that album climbed to the Top 10 on the Billboard Jazz Charts in 2005. Their new duo album “Dream in the Blue” was released in August 2016, also charting well on Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon.
Josh toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for 6 years. He continues to tour with artists Sara Gazarek, Richard Galliano, Tom Scott, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Christian Howes. He taught jazz for 4 years at Soka University and more recently at Cal State University Northridge.