Described as being “…fiendishly precise…” (, Canadian Drummer Nico Dann is sought-after internationally as a multi-faceted musician. As well as composing-for and leading his own ensembles, Nico has performed with a “who’s-who” of Canadian Jazz including Juno-Award winners Allison Au and Roberto Occhipinti, Michael Davidson, Dan Fortin (of Juno-Nominated Myriad Three), Andrew Downing, Reg Schwager and Christine Jensen.

As well as leading his own ensembles Nico is a permanent member of Rebecca Hennessy’s contemporary jazz brass band FOG, making numerous festival appearances around Canada. Healso holds the percussion chair inthe Tania Gill Quartet anda quartet led by tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg. Dann has made festival appearances recently with Juno-nominated modern jazz group Peripheral Visionfilling in for Canadian Jazz anomaly, drummer Nick Fraser. With Toronto jazzers Michael Davidson (vibraphone) & Jim Sexton (bass), Nico has been a member of Monk’s Music since 2014, exploring the oeuvre of Thelonious Monk live every week.

With his wife, soprano Ilana Zarankin, Nico co-leads Jazz/Classical/Folk ensemble Shepherds Heardand Indie band Elephant Ear. Zarankin and Dann are also co-curators of Toronto’s dérangé, a new music series devoted to bringing together local and touring contemporary classical, jazz, folk and pop music acts.

Dann’s past projects include touring with chart-topping indie luminary tUnE-yArDs(4AD), ex Montreal Indie-Rock Band Sister Suvi, and Toronto’s dream-pop group Bernice, led by Nico’s sister Robin Dann. Nico’s ever-expanding discography as a sideman includes dates with Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG, The Jessica Stuart Few, Toronto indie-luminary Bernice, NYC’s Jackson Hardakker, Angela Morris andAaron Shragge, Berlin-based Canadian Jon Lindhorst, Kansas City-based banjo songster Alex Mallet, and ex-NYC now Albaqurque-based guitar virtuoso Lily Maase’s The Suite Unraveling. Throughout his career, Nico has toured the US and Europe, notably performing at festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal’sOff Jazz Festival, POP Montreal, South by Southwestand Glastonbury.

Nico made his Classical debut with father violist Steven Dann and world-renowned bassist Joel Quarrington at the National Arts Centre in 2008 and had an opportunity to revisit this repertoire with his father in 2016 as part the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Music Series. This concert included a commission for Nico’s siblings and wife as well entitled Dannthology.Nico has studied privately with many renowned drummers and musicians includingJim Black, Jim Blackley, Rémi Bolduc, Dave Douglas, Antonio Hart, Michel Lambert, Chris McCann, Rakalam Bob Moses, Michael Mossman, Dave Patel, Jeb Patton, John Riley, and Nasheet Waits.

A dedicated educator Dann has held numerous positions as a teaching artist, and has given master classes and clinics both in Canada and the US. Nico is on faculty as a private music instructor at Bayview Glen School, Forte Music Services and maintains a private studio in Toronto.

Nico has a BMus and an MA in Jazz from Montreal’s McGill University and CUNY Queens College in NYC, respectively. Nico has attended the Banff International Workshop on Jazz and Creative Music as well as an independent residency at the Banff Centre. Nico has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Selected Discography

As a Leader

Rhododendron: Double Stuf(Independant, 2012)

As a co-leader

This Album is Not For People by Jazz/Rock quartet God’s Gift to Yoda (Seamstress Records, 2011)

Now I Am Championby Sister Suvi (Common Cloud, 2009)

As a side-man

Two Callsby Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG Brass Band (Independant, 2017)

Dirt in the Ground by Aaron Shragge’s Innocent When You Dream (Independant, 2017)

Limeranceby Jon Lindhorst (Independant, 2016)

Rallidaeby NYC-based Saxophonist Angela Morris (Independant, 2015)

Watering Can by NYC trombonist Jackson Hardaker (Independant, 2015)

We Lost Half the Forest and the Rest Will Burn This Summer by Art Collective Post-Commodity(Independant, 2015)

Kid Dream by Toronto’s The Jessica Stewart Few (Independant, 2010) Monk’s Music We See w/ Dave F Allison Au Michael D Dan F Brass Band at Island Church


Drum Lessons for all Ages and Levels

Would you like to learn how to play the Drums? I am an experienced drummer and music educator and would love to show you how. I teach privately and at Bayview Glen School in Toronto. Throughout my career I have played, toured and recorded with many great musicians, including tUnE-yArDs, Bernice, indie-rock band Sister Suvi and in the Jazz world Peripheral Vision, Monk's Music, Rhododendron and many other award-winning artists. These days, as a freelancer in Toronto, I play in original jazz projects, musicals, classical chamber music concerts, country bands and singer-songwriter projects. In general I have a ton of experience to share with my students.

I've been playing for a long time and have made - and learned from - a lot of mistakes along the way. While there are certain basic concepts that I feel everyone should learn, I adapt my lesson plans to suit each individual student's learning style. Everyone has to find their own relationship with music and I believe I can help you find yours - whether it's playing by yourself at home in your spare time, going on to play music professionally, or anything in between. I love to teach all levels and all ages.

I have a BMus from McGill University and Masters Degree from CUNY Queens College in Jazz Performance. While my main instrument is drum set, I also play many other percussion instruments, piano, guitar and am a singer and a composer.

We can meet at my studio on the Danforth or I can come to your house anywhere in the Toronto area.

Thank you, and please send me an e-mail to get started!

Nico Dann

Current Projects

  • As a Leader

  • Rhododendron

  • improv/jazz featuring mostly my own compositions
    • Sebastien Ammann - Keyboards, Nico Dann - Drums/Vox Lauren Falls - bass, Nathaniel Morgan - Alto Sax Matt Plummer - trombone, Owen Stewart-Robertson - guitar
  • As a Co-Leader

  • Elephant Ear

  • indie-folk-rock
    • Ilana Zarankin - guitar, voice, violin, keyboard, Lauren Falls - bass, voice, Nico Dann - drums, voice
  • Shepherd's Heard

  • Classical/Folk/Jazz Quintet: Folk-Jazz arrangements of Folk-Music-Inspired Post-20th Century Classical Vocal Repertoire...and more!
    • Ilana Zarankin - Voice (co-leader), Joe Brent - Mandolin, Rebecca Hennessy - trumpet, Michael Herring - bass
  • God's Gift to Yoda

  • jazz collective/guitar-rock-band featuring all members as composers
    • Harley Card - guitar, Michael herring - bass Michael Herring - bass, Don Scott - guitar
  • As a Sideman

  • The Alex Mallett Band

  • indie banjo folk featuring the incredible song-writing of Alex Mallett
    • Alex Mallett - banjo/bass/vox Alan Biller - bass/guitar/vox, Nico Dann - drums/vox,