2009 Guest of Honor:
Born in Newcastle, Australia, Nicki started her musical training at age four with the piano, followed by the flute, soon after. Nicki switched to double bass at the age of 15.
After graduating high school she moved to Sydney to study jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music where she began to play with Australian musicians such as Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Paul Grabowsky, Bernie McGann, and Ten Part Invention. She also toured Australia with Russian musicians Daniel Kramer and Alexander Fischer and American trumpeters Bobby Shew and Chuck Findley. She continued her studies with various bassists including visiting artists Ray Brown and John Clayton.
“…brings clear articulation, beautiful tone, a sense of rhythmic assuredness and a touch of allure…sings a saucy lyric with the best of them…a fine singer and a superb bassist…lights up a room like few others.”
Nicki was the recipient of two awards:
- Scholarship to Pan Pacific Music Camps at the age of 16
- First place in the 1992 Jazz Action Society’s Annual Song Competition for her composition “Come and Get It”
“Come and Get It” is the opening track of Nicki and her sister Lisa’s debut CD, “Awabakal Suite”.
It was the nomination that came from the annual Australian Young Achievers Award presented by the Arts Council of Australia however, who granted her the funds to come to New York to study with Rufus Reid. It was May 1994 when Nicki arrived in New York.
Since then she has performed with such notable musicians as Michel Legrand, Joe Wilder, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Jose Feliciano, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Patti Labelle & the New York Pops Orchestra, Harry Allen, Warren Vache, Marlena Shaw, David Krakauer, Ken Peplowski, Ann Hampton Callaway, Bill Mays, Scott Hamilton, Lillian Boutte, Larry Carlton and Houston Person, to name a few.