b. 13 February 1945, Ilford, Essex, England. Although he was playing the trombone and leading the band at school Nichols also became All-Britain junior accordion champion. He can now play most of the instruments in the bands he leads but excels on piano and trombone. He played with Dick Sudhalter’s Anglo-American Alliance (1969) before leading bands of his own, such as the New Sedalia, in the early 70s. He led the Ragtime Orchestra which played scholarly versions of the repertoire, before going to the USA to record with the New Paul Whiteman Orchestra. He wrote arrangements for the New York Jazz Repertory Company, for Dick Hyman and for the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. By 1978 he was well equipped to found the Midnite Follies Orchestra with Alan Cohen. Their aim was to play the music of the 20s and 30s and original pieces in a similar vein. Nichols is an authority on ragtime and earlier styles of jazz, and he works ceaselessly to keep them being performed. In the mid-80s he played with Harry Gold (bass saxophone) and led the Paramount Theatre Orchestrabefore going on to lead his own Cotton Club Band. Nichols continues to perform and record in the new millennium with his 10-piece orchestra the Blue Devils.
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