Born in Geneva in 1972, Nicolas Masson meets Cecil Taylor, Fred Hopkins, Frank Lowe and Makanda Ken McIntyre in New York in 1992. Back home in Geneva, he graduates from the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique de Genève in 2000 with a Jazz performance and teaching degree. During this period, Lee Konitz, Dave Douglas and Misha Mengelberg are his masterclass teachers and inspirations. From 1999-2001, he studies with Chris Potter and Rich Perry and lives in New York for one year, regularly playing with Ohad Talmor, Russ Johnson, Eivind Opsvik, Mark Ferber. Awake, released in 2002 on the label Altri Suoni, is his debut album recorded with his New York band featuring Russ Johnson (tp), Eivind Opsvik (b) and Mark Ferber (dms), and featured in a European tour (Switzerland, Italy) in January 2003.
In 2003, he is awarded the « Bourse d’Aide à la Création pour Jeunes Artistes de la Ville de Genève » grant, leading to a Switzerland tour and studio recording in 2004 with his Quartet (with Gerald Cleaver on drums). The second album, called Yellow (A Little Orange) is released in 2006 on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label and featured in the quartet’s second Italy tour in Spring 2004 with Ted Poor on drums. In 2005 and 2006, the Quartet tours Italy again, taking part in an itinerant Swiss festival organized by Rome’s Swiss Cultural Centre, sharing the evening with Irène Schweizer, Lucas Niggli and Malcolm Braff. Concerts are held in some of Italy’s most prestigious venues and festivals such as the Casa dell’Jazz and Alexanderplatz Jazz Club in Rome, TAM, Ubi Jazz Festival and Crossroads Jazz Festival in Emilia Romagna. In 2007, the Quartet performs in New York (Barbès, Tea Lounge) and Nicolas Masson tours Europe with pianist Kris Davis (Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany). In 2009, he releases his band Parallels‘ first Album on Clean Feed Records, featuring Colin Vallon on Rhodes, Patrice Moret on acoustic bass and Lionel Friedli on drums.
In 2010 he was commissioned by AMR in Geneva to write music for a new band. For this project, he joined forces with Ben Monder, Patrice Moret and Ted Poor and toured Switzerland and France. Departures, released in 2011 on Fresh Sound New Talent documents this band during a studio recording in the middle of the tour.
2013 is Nicolas Masson's debut on the famous ECM Records label with his collectively-led band Third Reel, also featuring Roberto Pianca on guitar and Emanuele Maniscalco on drums. The eponymous album Third Reel received immediate acclaim in the international press.
Nicolas’ busy schedule allows him to play all over Europe with musicians such as: Ben Monder, Kenny Wheeler, Josh Roseman, Otomo Yoshihide, Clarence Penn, Chris Potter, Kris Davis, Thomas Morgan, Scott DuBois, Gerald Cleaver, Colin Vallon, Tom Arthurs, Samuel Blaser, Manuel Mengis, Susanne Abbuehl, etc.