Nelson Lunding is a modern-day version of the travelling piano men, a tradition that traces roots back to the early 1890’s. Lunding is a saloon piano player, band leader, juke joint singer, itinerant troubadour, and keeper of the flame. He plays a rocking, muscular piano propelled by a driving left hand. It is a gripping kinetic music that demands to be danced to. When he plays for a crowd, they are experiencing the true embodiment of this very American genre.
Lunding began playing piano at the age of 6 in Westchester, NY and has been playing now for 37 years. As a teenager, he was lucky to study piano with Stuart Hemmingway, a blind world class jazz and blues player. Stuart taught him blues and jazz chords and patterns. Armed with this information, In 1991, at 17 years old Nelson moved to New Orleans and started gigging with bands there. By 21 years old he was singing and playing piano in his own right on Bourbon Street. “The whole world seem to pass by the door that opened to bourbon street…I learned a tremendous amount about people and performance during that time.” A year later he formed his own band named Nelson Lunding and Blues in the Pocket and at the age of 23 he produced the band on the self released Cd titled “Whiskey and a Beer to Go”. The band had success in New Orleans playing among other places the Maple Leaf Bar and even a night at the House of Blues. Nelson has performed at Jazz Fest in New Orleans 10 times with various groups and has had the opportunity to play backing up some of the great musicians in New Orleans including Johnny Adams, Walter Wolfman Washington, Ernie K-doe and on. He performed at WWOZ’s Piano Night in 1998 and 2007. The New Orleans influence on Nelson’s music is impossible to miss. He has created his own gumbo using the tricks of the New Orleans piano greats.
“In 2005 Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, destroyed my neighborhood and set me into motion. I didn’t know where I wanted to be so I just kept on travelling.” He had been travelling a circuit of New Orleans, New York and San Francisco. Then via an invitation he added the Yucatan and Oaxaca, Mexico as well as Antigua, Guatemala to the circuit. Finally after 4 years he settled in Antigua, Guatemala where he currently resides most of the time. In 2007 and 2012 he released solo piano CD´s recorded live at the Cadillac Hotel in San Francisco on an 1884 steinway Grand.