John Nilsen

John Nilsen and the John Nilsen Trio will perform a range of music from jazz, folk, boogie-woogie, classical, classics and songs from his new Foreign Films CD on Oct. 25 in Longview. 

Oregon pianist, guitarist and recording artist John Nilsen and his John Nilsen Trio will perform a concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Longview United Methodist Church, 2851 30th Ave., Longview.

The cost is a suggested $10 per person donation.

Nilsen, who just released his 20th CD, Foreign Films, has performed in all 50 states in the United States. He also has performed in Europe and Asia, and has sold more than a million CDs worldwide, according to a press release submitted to The Daily News.

Foreign Films, released in August 2019, emphasizes Nilsen’s piano compositions with an orchestra backup. Several piano solos have a string quartet backup. The 18 tracks are intended to make listeners feel like they are listing to a motion picture soundtrack.

Born in Seattle in 1956, Nilsen and his family moved to Portland in 1960. When he was 6 years old, he started studying classical piano from his mother. When he was 14 years old, he began playing the guitar. In 1974, he moved to Ashland, Ore., to attend Southern Oregon College (Southern Oregon University). He graduated in 1979 with a bachelor of arts degree in English. In 1995, he received the Most Distinguished Alumnus Award from the university in recognition of his outstanding achievements, dedicated efforts and leadership in the performing arts field, notes the release. The award is the most prestigious given to SOU graduates.

In 2016, Nilsen was chosen to be a Deering Banjo Artist, an artist who works alongside some of the world’s greatest banjo players.

From 1983 to 1985, Nilsen recorded three successful solo piano records on Los Angeles’s Eagle Records.

In 1987, Nilsen founded the Magic Wing recording label which has a catalog of 18 successful titles, each with international distribution, according to Nilsen’s bio.

Nilsen played 250 performances in 2018, and has done so each year for 25 years. Last year’s performances were mostly in Oregon.

He splits his performances among touring internationally and performing with the John Nilsen Trio featuring Jeff Leonard on bass and Jason Moore on percussion; and with John Nilsen and Swimfish featuring Dave Captein on bass, Mike Snyder on drums and percussion, Bob Logue on guitar and vocals and Don Woodward on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and vocals. According to Nilsen’s bio, Swimfish includes Nilsen’s piano and features his acoustic and electric guitar playing.

Nilsen also gives back to his community. For the past 25 years, he has been teaching songwriting residencies and speaking to students in schools including every school in Oregon’s West Linn/Wilsonville School District and throughout the country.

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