Nick Hempton is an alto and tenor saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, producing new music in the modern/mainstream tradition. Calling New York home since 2004, he headlines clubs throughout the city, as well as concert halls and festivals around the world. Influenced by the greats of the instrument– Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, etc., and informed by a youth misspent playing Rhythm & Blues and Ska in his native Australia, Hempton's jazz is original, approachable, and always swinging.
From 2005 to 2016, Nick led The Nick Hempton Band: “an unusually sharp, cohesive unit” (David Orthmann– AAJ) performing original compositions at most of the major New York venues, as well as touring regionally and internationally. With this group, Nick released four highly praised studio albums: “Nick Hempton Band” (self-released, 2008); “The Business” (Posi-Tone, 2011); “Odd Man Out” (Posi-Tone, 2013); and in 2015, the innovative “Catch and Release” Experiment, which was recorded and released track-by- track every six weeks, before being collated for CD release.
In the past year, through its residency at Smalls Jazz Club, the Hempton Band has morphed into “Trio Stonk,” a streamlined three-piece outfit whose performances bring melody, swing, and blues to the fore. Trio Stonk is known for ditching complicated compositions and arrangements in favour of navigating freely around standard chord structures, incorporating elements of Free Jazz into its hard-wired hard bop. It is with this group that Nick has recorded his fifth album as leader, in performance at Smalls Jazz club, to be released in the fall of 2017 on the SmallsLive label. The album will be launched at Smalls Jazz Club, then taken on an intensive tour of Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand.
In addition to working with Trio Stonk, Nick has built a strong reputation in NYC and abroad as an entertaining and energetic front man, working often in the organ band format, as well as leading conventional hard bop-style quartets and quintets. In demand as a sideman as well as a leader, Nick has performed with some of the top names in jazz and popular music including Roy Hargrove, Peter Bernstein, Harry Whitaker, Larry Willis, Jerry Weldon, Victor Lewis, Joe Magnarelli, and many more; and has been featured on dozens of albums encompassing the full range of popular music styles. He has made numerous television and radio appearances, and has also developed an excellent reputation as a music educator, holding private lessons and masterclasses for school- and mature-aged students.
On stage, in the studio, and on the road, Nick Hempton and the band are enjoying an ever-increasing workload as their notoriety spreads; and with a new album about to hit shelves, they're proving that they really are "The Business."