Born in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and raised in Provence, France, bassist Clovis Nicolas decided to be a professional musician after pursuing studies in Philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Marseilles in 1996, then he settled in Paris.
Soon, Clovis’ precise and tasteful bass playing gained him a solid reputation and he quickly became a first-call musician in the French capital, performing with artists like Brad Mehldau, André Ceccarelli, Vincent Herring, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michel Legrand, Stefano Di Battista, Belmondo Brothers, and many others. With the later, he recorded four albums, among them “Hymne au Soleil” which received three Grammy Awards in 2004. Clovis is also featured on many other recordings, including two albums with pianist Baptiste Trotignon, with whom he toured extensively in all the major international festivals (Montreux, Marciac, Montreal, JVC Festival, Paris La Villette, Vienne, Vancouver…).
In 2002-2003, Clovis moved to New York, after being awarded the Lavoisier Scholarship from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since then he has been performing in numerous venues (Jazz Standard, Blue Note, Kennedy Center, Smalls Jazz Club, Birdland, Jazz At Lincoln Center, Smoke Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club…) and recording with some of today’s most prominent jazz musicians: Peter Bernstein, Walt Weiskopf, Grant Stewart, Harry Allen, Sachal Vasandani, Marcus Gilmore, Brandon Lee, James Williams, Carl Allen, Mike Dease, Joe Magnarelli, Jane Monheit, Jeb Patton, Sacha Perry, Peter and Will Anderson, Elena Pinderhughes, Freddie Redd, Frank Wess, Branford Marsalis and Dan Nimmer and many others.
In 2009, Clovis joined the Jazz Program at the Juilliard School, graduating three years later with a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Music, having studied bass under Ron Carter and classical composition and counterpoint with composer Kendall Briggs. During that time, Clovis toured around the world for concerts and masterclasses with Juilliard Jazz (Brazil, Colombia, Japan…). He was featured during the concert “Ron Carter at 75” in Alice Tully Hall, when he performed with prestigious guests Herbie Hancock, Mulgrew Miller, Lewis Nash, Benny Golson and Buster Williams. That evening, Clovis was introduced to the audience by actor Danny Glover as the inaugural recipient of the “Ron Carter Scholarship Award.”
Since then, Clovis has been keeping a busy schedule both on stage and in the studio. He is in pianist and activist Samora Pinderhughes‘ inter-disciplinary project “The Transformations Suite”, which includes musicians such as Christian Scott, Marcus Gilmore, Mark Whitfield Jr., Dayna Stephens, Adam O’Farrill andAmbrose Akinmusire. He also performs with “DrumBattle,” a band co-led by drummers Joe Farnsworth and Kenny Washington. He is featured on the most recent recordings of trumpeter Bruce Harris(“Beginning”), vibraphonist Behn Gillece (“Walk of Fire”), the Uptown Jazz Tentet (“There it is”), Laurent Courthaliac octet (“All my Life” – Best Album of 2016 by the French Jazz Academy), and tours with these bands all over the world (China, Mexico, Uruguay, South Korea, Europe).
While maintaining a busy schedule as a sideman, Clovis leads his own band showcasing his original music and already released two albums for Sunnyside Records. His debut album, “Nine Stories,” featuring a well-arranged sextet of young lions, was very well received by the press including a selection as one of the “Best Albums Of The Year 2014” by DownBeat Magazine. His second album “Freedom Suite Ensuite,” showcasing a smaller ensemble with drummer Kenny Washington, came out in 2018 and earned a “CHOC” Jazz Magazine, as well as “Indispensable” JAZZ NEWS (equivalents of a 5 stars review), France’s two top jazz publication.
US TOUR DATES – FRANCE ROCKS SUMMER FEST 2019
3/18 @ Bar Bayeux – Brooklyn, NY