19 Things I’ve Never Told You

Hey jazz fans! It’s 5am and I just settled into writing mode. The coffee is kicking in! I’ve just started editing an interview I had with a 7 time Grammy Award Winning Jazz Musician. I will post that interview in the next week.  Super excited about it and you will love it!

In the meantime, in today’s post I’ve decided to have a bit of fun and go in a unique direction.

I’ve posted over 60 free jazz lessons in the last 7 months on this site and I know you guys are really starting to get to know me as a jazz musician and jazz educator.

Steve Nixon PianoMost of you don’t know that much about me personally though. Steve Nixon….who is this guy?

Who is this dude that keeps showing me all this jazz stuff?

Jazz education is ultimately about sharing and connecting with people.

With the spirit of connecting with you all better my dear readers, i’m going to reveal……..

19 Things About Me That I’ve Never Told You

1. I’ve swam over 5000 miles in my life.  Before I was very serious about music I actually trained as a competitive swimmer. Nowadays, the only time I swim is with a drink in my hand and I’m mostly just standing in the water.

2. I first joined a choir when I was 16. Not because I wanted to make great music.  No, I did it to meet girls. 🙂 Ironically, I eventually fell in love with choral music and it really taught me alot about how music works as a whole. It made me really appreciate the intricate voice leading of a jazz musician like Bill Evans.

3. I’ve done over 1150 paid gigs in the last 10 years. Wow, I think I need a vacation now that I see that in writing. 🙂

4. I am a huge fan of animals. This is my cat. She makes sure I don’t take myself too seriously….ever 🙂

5. Even though I’m a piano player, my favorite book is Zen Guitar. I’ve read it over 50 times. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on the spirit and philosophy of making great music for the rest of your life.

6. I once drove to Nasvhille on a whim because I was bored. The night I arrived I went to see a bluegrass band at some hole in the wall club. That same night in the club I ran into Mike Gordon (the bass player from the band Phish.). Mike and I were 2 of about 10 people in the club that night. Nice guy by the way!

7. In general I only sleep about 4-6 hours a night. Some people would call me a “workaholic” but I don’t feel that way at all. I LOVE MUSIC and I want to be either playing it or teaching it all the time. It’s all very fun for me. Thus, no sleep.

8. The first jazz tune I ever learned to play was Autumn Leaves. I’ve learned hundreds of standards since then but I still really enjoy playing Autumn Leaves. I still feel there is more to explore on this tune.  I think the same could be said on all the great jazz standards.

9. When I was studying at the Berklee College of Music I practiced 8 hours a day for 3 years. I often times would put on a suit and then just go sit in the practice all day. Why I wore suits to sit in a practice room I have no idea but it was a great time period in my life none the less!

10. I haven’t eaten red meat in 18 years. It’s not for political reasons or social reasons. I just don’t like the taste.  I know…weird right? 🙂

11. I have listened to Miles Davis Kind of Blue and Barry Harris At The Jazz Workshop at least 150 times each.  I love these discs. One of my future goals is to transcribe and learn every single solo on these albums. I even wrote a lesson about one of Miles solo’s.

12. I once played a gig where a rich stock broker tried to tip the band $200 in single dollar bills. He held the money in his hand as he tried approaching the stage. The place was packed.

Sadly, he tripped and fell over on the way to the band stand and all the money flew into the air. Unfortunately, for him there happened to be a strobe light going on at the time and a wind machine blowing for effect.

With the money flying all over the club it sent the place into mass hysteria. Drunk people were diving left and right trying to collect the money.

It literally looked like money was raining from the sky. Imagining making music to that scene. Completely insane! Why he had $200 in single dollar bills I never knew.

13. I am well under way in creating my newest jazz instructional DVD. It’s going to have a TON of killer content on there. It’s probably the thing I’m most excited about going on right now.

I feel humbled that my  first DVD (which is a blues instructional DVD) is actually in it’s second printing. Thanks to readers like you. 🙂

Update: The DVD has been released. You can check out the Jazz Masters Method DVD right here.

14. I am a huge NBA basketball fan. I grew up in Chicago at a time when Michael Jordan was in his prime. What an amazing time. When you see such an incredible virtuoso perform every night it’s pretty easy to fall in love with the sport.

Nowadays, I see a lot of parellel between jazz and basketball. At it’s highest level basketball is definitely an artform.

I even wrote an article about 1 thing Michael Jordan taught me to be a better jazz improviser.

15. Bruce Hornsby once gave me a spontaneous piano lesson. I was backstage hanging with him one time in Las Vegas and we started talking about piano hand independence.  He immediately stopped everything he was doing and started to look for a keyboard.

He proceeded to share with me all kind of awesome ideas about how to get the hands moving in different directions.

I was floored by his generosity. Virtuoso and great human being. So, thanks Bruce!

16. When I was in college I won an ear training competition with the grand prize being $5. I wish I could say that I still have that $5 and I framed it. That would be a cool story right?  In reality, I immediately spent it on beer.

17. I have a dream one day being able to teach jazz in Europe. I played many gigs in Europe when I toured with Ronnie Baker Brooks and just really enjoyed the lifestyle there.

One of my missions in life is to share and teach jazz on a global level. That’s also the goal of this website. So, teaching in Europe would fit right in!

18. My favorite coffee flavor as of late is Hazelnut but I’m also a big fan of the flavor of French Roast. Actually, who am I kidding? I’ll drink any coffee that’s handed to me.

19. I once meditated for 4 hours a day for a whole week. I also only ate raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and drank tea that week. That was probably the best I’ve ever felt in my life.

20. Now, let me tell you about the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.. Ok, so we were in Vegas, it was 4am, I had just spent the whole night…um….actually….I think I’ll skip this story 🙂

Thanks for reading everybody! Stay tuned for new jazz lessons next week and an interview with a 7 time Grammy Award Winning Jazz Musician.

Update: Here’s the interview with 7 time Grammy Award Winning Drummer Paul Wertico

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