‘A formidable UK jazz presence rising to her full height.’ The Guardian (John Fordham)
‘Iles is one of the most refreshing figures to have emerged in the UK scene in recent times, with a liquid sound and supple, obliquely resolved phrasing as an improviser.’ The Guardian (John Fordham)
‘Formidably creative…’ The Guardian (John Fordham)
‘Nikki Iles is a pianist of extraordinary imagination who thrives on fugitive melodies’ The Observer (Dave Gelly)
‘Iles displayed the rhythmic surprises, shape shifting phrases, playful dialogue with a mix of ruggedness and reflection that make her comparable with the great John Taylor.’ The Guardian (John Fordham)Press Photo
For many years, Nikki served a lengthy apprenticeship in the North of England playing with the cream of British and American jazz such as Peter King, Iain Ballamy, Art Farmer, Scott Hamilton, Tim Garland and Jim Mullen . Many of these relationships were re-kindled later when Nikki finally made the move to London in 1998. Here she joined the groups and toured and recorded with innovative musicians such as Steve Arguelles, Stan Sulzmann, Martin Speake, Mick Hutton and Tina May. Several Awards followed with the BT British Jazz Award and an IAJE Award in America for services to Jazz.
Although very well known as a pianist, composition still remains a major part of her musical life. There have been several nominations for the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award and many commissions have followed. The breadth of Nikki’s artistic vision has led her to disregard the arbitrary boundaries of the jazz scene and most notably, commissions have included “In All My Holy Mountain“ with poet Roger Garfitt and New Perspectives ensemble (1998), another collaboration with American dancer Mimi Cichanowicz (2001) “Distance No Object” (2002) IOU Theatre company, “A Gentle Prayer “ – London Sinfonietta , “Red Ellen” – Tim Garlands Underground Band and “Carillion – Renga (Contemporary group from the London Philharmonic Orchestra)(2010). Finally Nikki was honoured to have her piece commissioned by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra featured at the 2012 Proms (broadcast Radio 3 and BBC TV).
Of course as a player she remains much in demand (nominated in the piano category of the 2012 ,2013 and 2014 British Jazz Awards.) Recent work has taken her across the world as a member of the inspirational Julian Arguelles Octet, Joe Locke ,The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, The Stan Sulzmann Quartet, Trio with Jazzpar winner Tony Coe and Tina May, The Anglo/Canadian group with ECM artist, Martin Speake, Mingus Big Band star, American Lauren Sevian and vocal legend Norma Winstone. She has made many recordings and most recently recorded a trio CD “Hush “ in New York with legendary American players, Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams to great critical claim, reaching 3rd in the best CDS of the year and with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone in the suberb “Mirrors “ CD on Edition Records. This year brings the long awaited CD from the Printmakers,Westerly on Basho Records and a duo recording with the great Stan Sulzmann.