Nick Videen’s jazz is Minnesota Nice

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Anyone who wonders whether the Twin Cities jazz scene is vibrant enough to produce strong new players need only look to the young musicians who left to develop their craft elsewhere – and how eager they are to perform back in Minnesota.

From trumpeter John Raymond and pianist Javier Santiago to singer Nancy Harms, Minnesotans are causing a stir — and sharing their gifts when they return home.

Among them is saxophonist Nick Videen, who performs tonight at the Icehouse restaurant in Minneapolis in a band called Minnesota Nice, which includes Twin Cities musicians Bryan Nichols on piano, Jeremy Boettcher on bass and Sean Carey on Drums. They’ll perform a mix of jazz standards and the saxophonist’s compositions.

“I love playing with these guys,” said Videen, 29. “They are great musicians, and their playing has great energy and comes from a good place.”

Videen, who has been playing saxophone since age 9, is inspired by jazz greats Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker and, John Coltrane. He played in the concert and jazz bands through high school in Cambridge, Minn., and later studied at the University of Minnesota. After studying jazz at New England Conservatory, he toured with the Superpowers, an Afrobeat band inspired by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti.

“The rhythms were West-African inspired, and we were lucky enough to have a great Senegalese percussionist in the band,” Videen said. “I loved that band and I learned a ton. The band is no longer together, but the horn section is, and goes by “The Superpower Horns.”

At the Icehouse, he intends to explore a diverse musical background that relies on rhythm and artistic freedom, thriving in the company of homegrown talents.

“There is something special about the Midwest and its music,” he said. ” I feel very fortunate to have grown up here, to have had great teachers, to have had great bands to go watch, and to have met and played with so many inspired and inspiring musicians.”

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