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Nicole McCabe - Loyola Marymount University. Los Angeles, CA, US

Nicole McCabe

Lecturer and Jazz Ensemble Director | Loyola Marymount University


Lecturer and Jazz Ensemble Director


Nicole McCabe is a saxophonist and composer from Marin County, California. She works and lives in Los Angeles, where she earned a Master’s from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, studying with Vince Mendoza, Patrice Rushen, and Russell Ferrante. She previously earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at Portland State University, where she received the William Bradford and Janet Hughes Mersereau Jazz Scholarship.

McCabe recently released her sophomore album as a bandleader, Landscapes, on the Spanish label Fresh Sound. Inspired by picturesque drives up the West Coast, the record features her first Los Angeles quartet, including Paul Cornish, Myles Martin, and her partner Logan Kane, as well as Knower’s Genevieve Artadi. It stretches McCabe’s hard bop roots into soothing and stylish new territory, informed by an expansive melodic sensibility.

Moving to Los Angeles has shaped McCabe’s approach as a composer and player, as she’s embedded in the city’s interdisciplinary scenes brewing outside the academy and around jazz boundary-stretching labels like Brainfeeder, Leaving, and her home base Minaret Records. She’s a mainstay at local hotspots Sam First, Altamira Sound, and ETA, where she’s performed with Rachel Eckroth, Tina Raymond, Dave Harrington, and more.

McCabe’s 2020 debut, Introducing Nicole McCabe, featured her Portland teachers Alan Jones, Jon Lakey, and George Colligan, in whose band Theoretical Planets she performed. The album helped launch the underground label Minaret, which later released Mini Giraffe, the 2021 album from McCabe and Kane’s electro-jazz project Dolphin Hyperspace. More recently, McCabe released the EP Orbit with beatmakers 10.4 Rog and Vooo, and featured on Jacob Mann Big Band’s Greatest Hits Volume 3.

A prolific collaborator, McCabe has also played with David Binney, John Escreet, Anna Butterss, Henry Solomon, Sasha Berliner, Louis Cole, Thumpasaurus, and more. She recently completed Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency at the Kennedy Center, where she studied under Jason Moran. While at USC, she received the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Jeff Clayton Memorial New Note Award and the Keep an Eye International Jazz

She currently teaches undergraduate students at California State University, Northridge, as well as Los Angeles public school students through the Musicians at Play Foundation and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz program Jazz in the Classroom.

Education (2)

Portland State University: Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies 2019

University of Southern California: Masters of Music, Jazz Studies 2022

Areas of Expertise (3)




Accomplishments (1)

Jeff Clayton Memorial New Note Award (professional)


New Note was created by the Los Angeles Jazz Society in 2013 to support and promote the talents of young emerging jazz composers by providing commissions for new works which will be premiered at local jazz venues. This project adds another component in the organization’s mission to help preserve the future of jazz by identifying and nurturing young jazz musicians of tomorrow.

Articles (1)

Introducing Nicole McCabe Review

All About Jazz

Paul Rauch


If you were a young and talented jazz musician in Portland, Oregon, you would make yourself highly visible on the local scene to gain invaluable experience playing with the best the city had to offer. In addition to your more formal studies, you would extend your musical outreach from post-bop modernism to the avant-garde.

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