After graduating from UNLV and playing music around Las Vegas, Nick Tipping returned to his native New Zealand to take advantage of the laid-back lifestyle in the little slice of southern Pacific paradise.This year, Tipping's overseas retreat culminated in a major award, as the 2003 music alumnus nabbed Best Jazz Artist in the New Zealand Music Awards for his work with his band, The Jac.
“We play long-form compositions [in The Jac], and tend to have various different ideas around a central theme," Tipping said. "It's similar to the concept of a 'tone poem' in classical music. The band now includes a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on trombone, and one of New Zealand's pre-eminent metal drummers, so it's a really unique group of people with a unique sound.”
The band, which has been together for 10 years, has toured New Zealand and Australia and has appeared at the Jarasum Jazz Festival in South Korea. Tipping also plays in the Wellington Mingus Ensemble, dedicated to the music of Charles Mingus, the Rodger Fox Big Band, and he periodically performs as a bassist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Wellington.
In addition, he is a presenter on Radio New Zealand, where he hosts a weekly jazz program on its RNZ National station as well as a classical music program on its RNZ Concerts station.
New Zealanders often leave the country to get experience before returning home, Tipping said. When it was his turn, he headed to UNLV, which gave him the opportunity to connect with Las Vegas' entertainment industry. He played in the band behind Las Vegas singers Jay White and Marlene Ricci. Tipping was a member of the UNLV Jazz Ensemble I and featured in combos including Coalition, which won the Reno Jazz Festival small ensemble competition in 2002 and 2003. He studied under professor emeritus Tom Warrington and with jazz professors Bruce Paulson, Stefan Karlsson, and Dave Loeb.
When he returned to the Southern Hemisphere, he spent nine years as a professor at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington and worked in development for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.