Nick DeCarlis grew up hearing the gorgeous tone and lyrical improvisations of cornetist Bobby Hackett. Other musical influences would eventually include Warren Vache, Jr., Ruby Braff, Scott Hamilton, and Chet Baker.
After quitting the junior high band at age 13, Nick didn’t touch the cornet until his college years, first re-learning to play the instrument, then teaching himself to play improvised jazz. His first gigs were in 1982 with the Gainesville, Florida group “Moondancer.”
Nick founded “The High Note Jazz Club” above Gainesville’s historic Florida Theater in 1991, and performed there frequently during that year.
While he has played gigs for 25 years, Nick has had a renewed interest and sense of purpose in playing jazz since 1998, and in that time has performed with nationally-known swing and traditional jazz performers, including Dan Barrett, Dan Block, Ken Calhoun, Jim Cullum, Jr., Bobby Gordon, Ron Hockett, Ed Metz, Jr., Mark Neuenschwander, Jeff Phillips, Bill Prince, Tom Pletcher, John Sheridan, Jim Snyder, Dave Steinmeyer, Frank Tate, Allan Vache and Johnny Varro. Additionally, Nick has traveled to San Antonio, Texas on numerous occasions to play with the famous Jim Cullum Jazz Band, of Public Radio International’s “Riverwalk Jazz” fame.
In 2001 he produced and played in “A Tribute to Bobby Hackett” for the Gainesville Friends of Jazz. At the time, it was the best-attended concert in the society’s history.
That attendance record was broken in 2004 when Nick produced and played in “Songs Sinatra Sang,” also for GFOJ.
This was followed by by “Double Take” in 2005, with Nick being joined by NY trumpeter Jeff Stockham. A new attendance record was set for GFOJ.
Nick produced and played in a reprise “Tribute to Bobby Hackett” concert in Bridgewater, NJ in October, 2006 with an outstanding all-star group of musicians. He welcomes the chance to do this show again in other locations.
Most recently, clarinetist Jim Snyder joined Nick for the concert production “NYC: 1939” for the Gainesville Friends of Jazz, a tribute to the small group jazz played in the Big Apple immediately before and after WWII.
Nick recorded and released his first CD in 2004 with the Frank Sullivan Trio, titled “The Thrill of That Moment.” A second CD was released in July 2005; a live recording of his concert “Songs Sinatra Sang.”
A new all-ballads CD with guitarist Taylor Roberts and bassist Ali Che’ree, “Hush of Night,” was released in June, 2006.
Nick plays with Jacksonville’s St. Johns River City Band, and has also appeared with Orlando’s Perseverance Brass Band on numerous occasions.
Nick is a founding member, and former board member of the Gainesville Friends of Jazz & Blues. He collects and restores antique cornets dating from 1860 to 1942, and is a founding member of the so-called “Cornet Conspiracy,” a group of like-minded cornet player/collectors from across the U.S. who have met on an annual basis since 2001. He is the author of the book “Pocket Cornets: Actual Size” available through Blurb.com.
Download Print Resolution B&W Photos of Nick for print reproduction (right click, then select “save target as”):
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Nick plays a 1935 F.E. Olds “Standard” design cornet with the optional hand-hammered finish bell, .453 bore, with Yamaha 7D4d mouthpiece.