Larue Nickelson, second place Montreux Gibson Jazz Guitar Competition
Ever hear of the Montreux Jazz Festival? How about Gibson guitars? Two of the most prestigious names in music teamed up this year to find the best jazz guitarists in the world. That´s right, the world. Know who they found? Larue Nickelson, an unassuming composer and guitarist who lives and works right here in the Bay area. He placed second, behind Antal Pusztai from Hungary. It´s amazing he placed at all since the airlines lost his guitar, forcing him to play the first elimination round on a borrowed instrument. Still, he made the cut, and his own guitar arrived minutes before the final round. Nickelson teaches jazz guitar at USF and plays in university ensembles, including Chuck Owens´ The Surge (which has a concert scheduled for Sept. 27). He also plays original compositions with bassist Patrick Bettison and with the Michael Ross Quartet. His most recent work is featured on two new CDs due out this fall: his and Bettison´s The Last Three Months of July and MRQ´s Year of the Dog. All you folks who say you love jazz but never go listen to it live ought to get off your asses and go check out this guy. At 30 years old, he´s already accomplished a lot — and he´s just beginning a promising career.