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Born in Memphis, city of so many rich genres of American music, 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 knew he would devote his professional life to music—especially jazz. He played in J. Thomas Link’s SBA Jazz Ensemble for four years, which performed as the front band for many established groups of various genres, such as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and eclectic jazz keyboardist Charlie Wood’s 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 international jazz artist Michael Jefry Stevens.
During his high school and college years Nollan immersed himself in both classical music and jazz, attending operas, ballets, and contemporary music concerts. 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 pianist 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 guitarist 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 the brilliant jazz 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 pianist and educator Steve Lee, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Tony Thomas, and professor of classical piano Angeline Case-Stott. He was accepted to the Jazz Studies program of the University of Tennessee, where he continued studying with Brown. Brown has also become his mentor and (with his first album Stand) producer.
After three years of 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. He performed regularly at many local venues; his performances included drummer JT Paz and bassist Joe Phea. During the Covid Pandemic he formed a trio with Paz and Phea called Jazz on the Grass, playing twice a month in outdoor settings. In Houston he studied with famous pianist Bobby Lyle, and in Pensacola performs with jazz masters 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.
In Spring 2023 Alex composed and assembled the songs for his second album, which is produced by Donald Brown and titled 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 its songs are available on most streaming services….
Upcoming Music Activities
Gala Celebration of CD Release
Alex Nollan Trio
Alex Nollan Quartet
Alex Nollan Trio
Alex Nollan Septet
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
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