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Building from the Memphis sound . . .

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Musical Biography

Born in Memphis, Alex Nollan from an early age was steeped in the sounds and traditions of classical, rock, soul, and jazz.  His studied at the Rhodes Music Academy, and when he reached high school he played in Tom Link’s SBA Jazz Ensemble for four years.  The SBA Jazz Ensemble performed as the front band for many groups of various genres, such as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Charlie Wood band.

Nollan racked up 40 hours of recording studio experience at the Leeway Studio and the Charlie Wood Studio in Memphis. The SBA Ensemble landed the 2007 Downbeat Magazine international award for Best Blues/Pop/Rock Band, performing and competing in Chicago, Orlando, and New Orleans.  He began to study regularly with Michael Jefry Stevens.

During his high school and college years Nollan immersed himself in both classical music and jazz.  In July 2004 he was the personal guest of Alexandre Rachmaninoff, grandson of the famous composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago.  In order to broaden his musical and cultural horizons, Nollan traveled internationally several times to Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Nollan entered Middle Tennessee State University in Jazz Studies, studying with Tom Giampietro and meeting future colleague Don Aliquo.  At the University of Memphis he studied with Gerald Stephens. When Stephens transferred to Rhodes College, Nollan went with him, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Music in 2013.

During his senior year at Rhodes he performed in the Jazz Band led by John Bass: in the spring the band played at the Overton Park Shell, with Nollan being honored to play with Charles Lloyd.  At this event he met musical artist Donald Brown.

Donald Brown and Alex connected immediately: Soon after that encounter Alex began commuting to Knoxville for a year to take lessons with Brown.  After graduation he studied with Steve Lee, Tony Thomas, and Angeline Case-Stott.  He was accepted to the Jazz Studies program of the University of Tennessee, where he continued studying with Brown.  Brown is the producer of his albums Stand (2019) and Mandatory (2023).

After his Master’s-level study at the University of Tennessee, Nollan relocated to Lubbock, TX to embark on a composing, performing, and recording career. He was based there for five years.  During the Covid pandemic he formed a trio with drummer JT Paz and bassist Joe Phea called Jazz on the Grass, playing twice a month in outdoor settings.  In Houston he studied with Bobby Lyle, and in Pensacola performs with Steve Gilmore, Bob Maksymkow, and Jim Roebuck. After returning to Memphis at the end of 2021, Nollan reintegrated himself into the Memphis and Mid-South music scenes.  He is sought after as a performer, composer, and recording artist.

In Spring 2023 Alex composed and assembled the songs for his second album Mandatory.  Recorded in Memphis, the album features Don Aliquo (saxophone), Neal Bowen (bass), Clifton Brady (saxophone), Charlton Johnson (electric guitar), Renardo Ward (drums), and Johnny Yancey (trumpet and fluegelhorn).  Mandatory was released on November 1, 2023!!  Clips from both Stand and Mandatory are available on most streaming services….


Upcoming Music Activities

April 27, 2024
Biscuits and Jams Restaurant
Nollan-Bowen Duo
Bartlett, TN
April 30, 2024
The Farms at Bailey Station
International Jazz Day
Solo Engagement
Collierville, TN
May 16-18, 2024
International Jazz Composers' Symposium
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Summer 2024 (Date TBA)
Manhattan Sports Bar & Lounge
Alex Nollan Trio
Cordova, TN
Summer 2024 (Date TBA)
Trezevant Manor Jazz Recital
Solo Engagement
Memphis, TN
June 23, 2024
Private House Recital
Alex Nollan Trio
Bartlett, TN
July 2024 (date TBA)
Mid-South Artist Gallery
Solo Engagement
Bartlett, TN
Summer 2024
Donald Brown Jazz Festival
Two-Day Event
Alex Nollan Septet
Memphis, TN
September 2024 (date TBA)
Bartlett Farmers Market
Solo Engagement
Bartlett, TN

I was lucky enough to hear the Alex Nollan Quintet live in concert in the Green Room at Crosstown on February 26, 2022. Their artistry and passion made for an unforgettable evening. The jazzy beats were so infectious that some people started dancing during the set! I highly recommend this talented group for small or large gatherings; they would be perfect for special / VIP events.

Vanessa RogersAssociate Professor of Music, Rhodes College

I've had the pleasure of knowing and teaching Alex Nollan for five years. He continues to amaze me with his creativity as a pianist and composer. I expect to hear great things from Alex!

Donald BrownGrammy-Nominee, Composer, Jazz Pianist, Producer

Whenever I have had the pleasure of working with Alex Nollan, I've been amazed at the ear and heart he has for music. His ability to grasp the essence of whatever he is playing, and insert his own unique sensibilities is brilliant! It has been great fun to get a glimpse into this immense talent.

Tony ThomasGrammy-award winner, Jazz Pianist, Organist

The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) was pleased to introduce Alex Nollan to Lubbock audiences at a First Friday Art Trail when he performed on the Reagor Dykes Stage to a large, appreciative audience. We commend Alex’s superb musicianship and are excited about his creation of a new jazz ensemble with James Pendell and Dustin Pedigo. We look forward to their future performances at LHUCA.

Jean CaslinFormer Executive Director of Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts

It gives me genuine pleasure to have found excellent jazz in Lubbock, Texas. On two occasions I attended performances of Alex Nollan at the keyboard and piano, along with two excellent jazz musicians: bass player Dustin Pedigo and drummer James Pendell. While masterfully playing many jazz standards, Alex displayed his skill with his leads and solos. His performance of Keith Jarrett’s “Days and Nights Waiting” was a stand-out. In addition, Alex conveyed the music of more difficult composers, such as Thelonious Monk, with aplomb. I hope he continues to bring great jazz to Lubbock.

Meyer GoldbergJazz Enthusiast

Recent News

March 22, 2021

Winner of Multiple Awards

Alex Nollan won "Honorable Mention" with his original composition "Obligatory" in the Jazz category in the 2020 Unsigned Only Music Competition. The judges received more than 7,000 entries from 109…
October 30, 2017

A Tale of Four Cities: Alex’s First Album

Two years ago Alex began assembling material for his first album.  He wanted it to include collaborations with some of the terrific jazz musicians he had studied or performed with:…
October 30, 2017

The Memphis-Lubbock Underground Trio

Alex Nollan, leader of the ensemble, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Rhodes College in Memphis.  He took Master's level courses in Jazz Studies for four years at…


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