Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Ali, Nick ("The Brownman") (F. Nicholas Ali)

Ali, Nick ("The Brownman") [F. Nicholas Ali]; b. Trinidad, 2 December 1969. Ali's father, Faiz M. Ali (b. 1944) and mother, S. Molly Ali (b. 1949) were both born in Trinidad. His brother, S. Marcus Ali (b. 1974) is an alto saxophonist in Canada. Ali grew up in Toronto and is still based there. He was originally called "Brownboy" by racist peers, but he turned it around and "owned it." From the age of 18 he was known as Brownman.

From 1982-1988, he studied with W. Bramwell Smith of the United States Army Herald Trumpets. In 1988, he received private lessons from Guido Basso, Mike Malone. Randy Brecker gave Ali private lessons from 1992-1994 and he studied in 1995 at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts Jazz Program whose instructors included Claudio Roditi and Kenny Wheeler.

He directs the Latin-jazz unit CRUZAO, jazz-hip-hop group GRUVASYLUM, mainstream NICK ALI TRIO and the 10-piece Salsa band MARR N MATIZADO. In 2000, he studied in Cuba where he sat in with Irakere. In 2001 he was musical director of two Cuban artists, EVARISTO y SU ORQUESTA and YARITZA MARTINEZ. He has performed or recorded with Wayne Shorter, John Scofield (sits in with CRUZAO while at the Rimouski JazzFest), Kenny Wheeler, Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson, Kirk Macdonald, Pat Labarbera, etc. He has done studio work on nearly 100 CDs in many genres, as well as major motion picture soundtracks, music videos and live television broadcasts. He had a cameo appearance in Jennifer Lopez's 2001 movie "Angel Eyes" and the 2002 CBC pilot "In A Jam".

Nick Ali & CRUZAO - 2003 National Jazz Award nominee for
"Electric Group of the Year"
Nick Ali - 2002 National Jazz Award winner - "Composer of the Year"
Nick Ali - 2002 1st runner-up for the National Jazz Award for
"Trumpet Player of the Year"
Nick Ali & CRUZAO - 2001 1st runner-up for the National Jazz
Award for "Electric Group Of The Year"
Nick Ali & CRUZAO - 2001 winner of the coveted Montreal Jazz
Festival "Grand Prix Du Jazz Award" (the first
latin-jazz group in the history of this award to
receive it).
Nick Ali & CRUZAO - 2001 CBC Galaxie "Rising Star" Award


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