Celebrated as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, Australian artist Nicki Parrott has earned acclaim as one of the most engaging talents to emerge on the jazz scene in the 21st century.
Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1970, Parrott had a precocious talent for music, first learning to play the piano when she was four years old. She would become proficient on piano and flute, but when her sister Lisa, who plays saxophone, was looking for a bassist for her jazz combo, Nicki took up the double bass, and fell in love with the instrument. At the age of 16, Parrott earned a scholarship to attend the Pan Pacific Music Camps, and after completing high school, she relocated to Sydney to enroll at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. Parrott was soon performing with a number of leading Australian jazz musicians (including Mike Nock, Paul Grabowski, and Dale Barlow), as well as American artists Chuck Findley and Bobby Shew. In 1994, Parrott left Australia for New York City thanks to an Arts Council grant, and she began studying bass with Rufus Reid. In 2000, Parrott landed an especially prestigious gig -- she became bassist with Les Paul's combo for the legendary guitarist's weekly performances at the Manhattan jazz spot Iridium. Paul became her mentor, and encouraged her as a vocalist as well as a bassist.
In 2001, Nicki made her recording debut with Awabakal Suite, a collaborate effort with her sister Lisa; the album featured an original composition, "Come and Get It," which in 1992 took first prize in the Jazz Action Society's Annual Song Competition. Nicki also performed in a number of Broadway musicals, including Avenue Q, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Jekyll & Hyde. In 2007 she released an album with pianist Rossano Sportiello, People Will Say We're in Love, in which they essayed a number of jazz pieces and vintage pop standards. Nicki's first solo effort, 2008's Moon River, was the first of a series of albums in which she performed a handful of favorite standards with graceful jazz arrangements and her subtle but expert vocals. It would be one of 17 albums the prolific Parrott cut for Venus Records between 2008 and 2017; she also cut several more albums with Sportiello, and kept up a busy schedule playing jazz clubs and music festivals around the world. In 2017 Parrott also released Dear Blossom, her tribute to the influential jazz vocalist Blossom Dearie. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi