About Jody Nardone
Pianist, vocalist, bandleader, composer, educator
“Thanks to a dynamic style that can shift from the whispered beauty of Bill Evans to the percussive flights of McCoy Tyner, Nardone has emerged as one of Nashville’s preeminent jazz pianists. His reputation is also blowing up nationwide, where he is receiving raves in Downbeat and Jazziz for his role in the Crimson Jazz Trio, a Nashville-to-L.A. combo led by former King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace and former Vital Information bassist Tim Landers.”
Michael McCall, Nashville Scene
Jody Nardone’s music career began at such at an early age that he cannot remember a time when he wasn’t singing or playing the piano. Studying and performing since the age of three, music has been his primary passion for much of his life. While still in elementary school, Jody sang at weddings with his dad’s band, lent his voice to radio jingles, did studio work as a background vocalist, and began writing songs, all before entering his teens.
Born and raised in New Jersey, it was in junior high school, when studying with jazz pianist/educator, Keith MacDonald that Jody began his life long love affair with jazz.
In high school, Nardone teamed up with friends to forge a musical bond that would last 17 years. The band, Pandora's Box, later known as Timberwolf, propelled by Jody's distinct tenor vocals, heartfelt songwriting and rollicking piano style, toured the east coast college circuit and performed regularly to capacity crowds in New York City before relocating to Nashville in 1994.
After graduating high school, Nardone attended William Paterson University of NJ, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance. As a student in the school’s famed jazz department, Jody studied with Rufus Reid, Joe Lovano, Jim McNeely, Norman Simmons and Harold Mabern. Nardone also spent a summer studying with pianist/educator and jazz guru Kenny Werner, which he refers to as "a life changing experience." Nardone was awarded the jazz department’s Outstanding Senior award at graduation, and was a member of the school's New Jazz Ensemble, which was awarded first place in the 1991 DownBeat magazine student music awards.
Nardone has performed with countless artists such as jazz legends Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, Larry Carlton, Dave Valentin and Rufus Reid, as well as saxophonists Jeff Coffin of The Dave Matthews Band and Rahsaan Barber & Everyday Magic, trumpeter Rod McGaha, drummer Chester Thompson and jazz chanteuse Annie Sellick.
Currently residing in Nashville, Jody is a busy studio musician, and has recently recorded with guitar legend Brian Setzer of The Stray Cats on Setzer’s last solo record, Rockabilly Riot! as well as the brand new Brian Setzer Orchestra 2015 Christmas release, Rockin’ Rudolph, where he arranged all the background vocals and lent his voice too. Jody has recorded with Poison lead singer Bret Michaels, Steve Vai/Joe Satriani/Aristocrats bassist Bryan Beller, "The Voice" finalist/recording artist Chris Mann, Drake Bell of Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, indie rock favorites The Floating Men, acclaimed singer-songwriters Jeff Black and Bob Delevante, RCA recording artists Baillie & The Boys and the renowned bluegrass group, Blue Highway.
In addition to Jody’s busy performing and recording schedule, he is also one of Nashville’s premier music educators. Over the past 25 years, he has kept a busy studio of piano and voice students. Nardone was Artist in Residence at Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood TN from 1996-2007, Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Piano at Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University from 2009-2010 and has been a guest instructor at the Nashville Jazz Workshop.
Jody was also an integral member of the critically acclaimed Crimson Jazz Trio, a group devoted to creating daring jazz re-interpretations of the music of King Crimson, led by ex-Crimson drummer Ian Wallace and joined by Tim Landers on bass. The band was created with the blessing of King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, who enjoyed the band’s debut recording so much that he actually named the band and wrote their debut album’s liner notes.
In the fall of 2003, Jody began a weekly stint in trumpeter and Max Roach sideman Rod McGaha’s quartet, with Jerry Navarro on bass and Marcus Finnie on drums. Shortly afterward, the Jody Nardone Trio (with Navarro and Finnie in tow) was born, and the group’s Saturday night residency at Nashville Jazz spot, F Scott’s was in full force. Later, Finnie went on to form his own group and Derrek Phillips, came on board to take over the drum chair in 2007 and has been with the band ever since.
Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Trio, Nardone, Navarro and Phillips released their highly anticipated debut CD, “Lights Will Guide You Home” in November of 2013. The trio continues to perform regularly in the Nashville area and has recently enjoyed sold out shows at City Winery's Upstairs Lounge, as well as performing at the D.C. Jazz Festival, in Washington D.C. where they opened for world renowned jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, at a standing room only show at The Hamilton Live in June, 2016.