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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Guitarist Nick Colionne brings the heat
The award-winning musician will play in Charlotte Dec. 8
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 11:25 pm
by Michaela L. Duckett

Guitarist Nick Colionne is renowned for his rich baritone vocals, lively performances and distinctive eclectic sound that fuses jazz, R&B, blues, rock and funk.

Guitarist Nick Colionne is almost as well-known for his designer clothes as his music. He'll play the Carolina Jazz Series Dec. 8 at Halton Theatre

The award-winning musician is also known for his style. His reputation as “the best dressed man in jazz” helped him land an on-going endorsement deal with the men’s designer line Stacy Adams.

Colionne is bringing his style and showmanship to the Queen City as part of the Carolina Jazz Series. He will be performing with saxman Richard Elliot, the reigning merchant of Soul Jazz, on Dec. 8 at Central Piedmont Community College’s Halton Theatre.

Colionne, who began playing guitar at age 9, describes his style as “a potpourri” of various musical influences from Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Kenny Burrell to B.B. King and Van Halen.

“I played in every kind of band except for Country and Western,” he said. “I played heavy metal for four or five years. I played R&B at one time, and then I came back to playing jazz.”

Although Colionne found his niche with smooth or contemporary jazz, he wanted to try his hand at crossing into some different genres with the release of his latest album “Feel the Heat.”

“It has some R&B stuff and a little blues,” he said. “I want to expand what I do because I’ve played so many different types of music that I don’t want to get locked into playing one thing.”

Colionne is currently working on a his next CD, which is titled “Influences.”

“That title opens the door for me to play whatever I want to,” he said. “I’ve been influenced by so many different types of music, and other guitar players and other instrumentalists so I want to tap into some of the other things that I’ve done and not just be stagnant.”

If there is one passion that matches, if not surpasses, Colionne’s music it is his commitment to giving back. Colionne was awarded the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his efforts – mentoring children in his hometown and nationally supporting causes such as breast cancer.

For nearly two decades, Colionne has been working with youth at the St. Lawrence K-8 School in Elgin, Ill. Colionne said he has kept in touch with many of the students he has mentored in the past 18 years, one of which is currently employed as his road manager.

“I think it’s a sin for God to give you a gift and you not to use it to help someone else,” he said.

His mission is to keep jazz alive.

“Especially for African-American kids because this [music] was created by us, and we need to keep it going,” he said. “Jazz is America’s music.”

As much as he loves music, Colionne said he does not allow it to consume him. He takes a break from music at least once a week or else he said the industry would drive him “nutty.”

 “It’s called No Music Wednesday,” he said. “I don’t play music. I don’t listen to music. If I have a performance to do, then that’s a different story. But if I’m at home, I don’t do anything musical. I just let my mind clear itself and let my ears get clear.”

He likens it to a person with a typical 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday. “When they have the weekend off, they are not going back to the job to hang around,” he said.

When he performs in Charlotte, Colionne said audiences can expect to “feel the heat” from his high-energy performance.

“I come to have fun,” he said. “I hope that everybody that comes to concert has a lot of fun with me because that’s what I come to do – have fun and hopefully make people feel better when they leave than they did when they got there.”

Carolina Jazz Series: Richard Elliot and Nick Colionne

Location: Halton Theatre (1206 Elizabeth Ave).

Date: Dec. 8, 2012 Time: 8 p.m.

To avoid online ticket fees, call the box office at (704) 330-6534.


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