Nikki Iles

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Nikki Iles
Nicki Iles.JPG
Background information
Birth nameNikki Anne Burnham
Born (1963-05-16) 16 May 1963 (age 59)
Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Years activeMid-1980s–present
Labels33Jazz, Basho

Nikki Anne Iles BEM (née Burnham; born 16 May 1963) is a British jazz composer, pianist and educator.

Early life[edit]

Iles was born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, on 16 May 1963.[1] She started her musical education at primary school, where she learnt to play the harmonica and the clarinet, and at eleven years old she won a junior exhibition at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied clarinet and piano[1] from 1974 to 1981.[2] She became a member of the Bedfordshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.[1] She went on to the Leeds College of Music (1981–1984).[1]

Later life and career[edit]

After graduating from the Leeds College of Music, she decided to settle in Yorkshire.[2] After marrying trumpeter Richard Iles, she changed her surname from Burnham.[2] She joined his band Emanon, with which she played some of her compositions.[1] Iles also began playing with several London-based bands, such as those led by Steve Argüelles, Mick Hutton and Stan Sulzmann.[1]

Iles won the 1996 John Dankworth Special Award at the BT Jazz Festival.[1] Following a serious car crash after a gig, Iles opted to settle in London.[1]

Iles is senior lecturer at Middlesex University, and has taught at the University of York, Leeds College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music, and in Bulgaria, Holland, France, and Finland.[1]

Iles was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to music.[3]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1997? The Tan Tien FMR with Martin Speake
1997? Change of Sky 33Jazz Duo, co-led with Tina May (vocals)[4]
1998? Snap RFM As Foolish Hearts (Iles, Steve Berry, Paul Clarvis, and Anthony Kerr)
2002 Veils Symbol Quintet, with Stan Sulzmann (soprano sax, tenor sax), Mike Outram (guitar), Mike Hutton (bass), Anthony Michelli (drums)[5]
2002 Everything I Love Basho Trio, with Duncan Hopkins (bass), Anthony Michelli (drums)[5]
2012 Hush Basho Trio, with Rufus Reid (bass), Jeff Williams (drums)[6]
2015? Westerly Basho As The Printmakers; with Mike Walker (electric guitar), Mark Lockheart (saxes), Steve Watts (bass), James Maddren (drums), Norma Winstone (vocals)[7][8]

As sidewoman[edit]

With Anthony Braxton

With Mike Gibbs

  • By the Way (Ah Um, 1993)[10]

With Ingrid Laubrock

  • Some Times (Candid, 1998)[5]

With Tina May

  • One Fine Day (33Jazz, 1999)[5]
  • I'll Take Romance (Linn, 2002)[5]
  • More Than You Know (33Jazz, 2004)[5]
  • A Wing and a Prayer (33Jazz, 2005–06)[5]

With Sylvan Richardson

  • Pyrotechnics (Blue Note, 1992)

With Geoff Simkins

  • Don't Ask (Symbol, 1999)

With Martin Speake

  • Secret (Basho, 2000)[5]

With Stan Sulzmann

  • Treasure Trove (ASC, 1995)[5]

With Dick Walter/Jazz Craft Ensemble

  • Secret Moves (ASC, 1999)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Nikki Iles". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Chilton, John (2004). Who's Who of British Jazz (2nd ed.). Continuum. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-8264-7234-2.
  3. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N32.
  4. ^ Nathan, Dave. "Nikki Iles / Tina May: Change of Sky". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. pp. 746, 869, 963, 1329, 1354. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  6. ^ Lindsay, Bruce (2 April 2012). "Nikki Iles: Hush". All About Jazz.
  7. ^ Fordham, John (7 May 2015). "The Printmakers: Westerly Review – American Cool to Rural England". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Westerly: The Printmakers". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  9. ^ Eyles, John (18 March 2006). "Anthony Braxton with the Creative Jazz Orchestra: Composition No. 175 & Composition No. 126: Trillium-Dialogues M". All About Jazz.
  10. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. p. 497. ISBN 978-0-14-051368-4.

External links[edit]