JIM COOPER AND NEXUS is a new band led by vibraphonist Jim Cooper. All of the members hail from the state of Michigan, though Cooper was a member of the  Chicago jazz scene in the 1980s and 90s and recorded for Delmark Records.  In addition to Cooper, the quartet features saxophonist Derek "Beatbox" Brown, bassist Nick Calandro and Randy Marsh, drums. 

 The word Nexus represents a meeting point of different influences and Cooper's intentions are to bring different elements of music to the group including spoken word, pre-recorded sounds and more. 

 Currently, their performances include the 2019 South Haven Jazz Festival and the SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids.  More events are being scheduled and a CD recording. 



Jim Cooper, vibraphone, has performed with jazz artists Frank Wess, Milt Hinton, Marcus Belgrave, Ira Sullivan, Buddy de Franco and Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble as well as many musicians from Chicago and West Michigan. 

Among the performances Jim has appeared include The Chicago Jazz Festival, Sutton’s Bay Jazz Festival, Lansing (MI) Jazz Festival, Grand Rapids Jazz Festival, South Haven Jazz Festival, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, as well as concerts and clubs in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix, Arizona.  

As a Delmark Recording Artist, he released two CDs, Tough Town and Nutville, featuring legendary multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan. His following CDs include Itchin' to Groove, Trio Musik, Chi-Town Sessions and his latest, Make Someone Happy.  Release in 2018, Make Someone Happy features an exciting Chicago quartet, reuniting with Ira Sullivan. 

Jim was the recipient of ArtPrize's 2015 "Best Jazz Composition Award"for his song, “Third Circle.”  In 2019, his song, “Mallethead” was recently included in the book, The City Was Yellow, Chicago Jazz and Improvised Music 1980-2010. 

Derek Brown, saxophone, has performed solo concerts in all 50 United States and over 25 countries around the world (almost 200 total international shows)! Known for his boundless energy on stage, creative audience interaction, and musical depth, Derek’s live shows always surprise and delight. Crossing genres from jazz to classical to funk, without looping or electronic effects, saxophone innovator Derek Brown’s unique playing style must be seen in person to be believed! 

As described by jazz journalist/historian Scott Yanow, "Brown performs unaccompanied solos that occasionally make one recall Bobby McFerrin in his early prime and the great saxophonist Eddie Harris . . . utilizing slap-tonguing, circular breathing, a wide interest in musical styles and dazzling coordination to create rather unique music." From his 30+ million views across social media to his appearance on international television and NPR’s Weekend Edition, Billboard-charting saxophonist/innovator Derek Brown and his one-of-a-kind solo “BEATBoX SAX” project has been exploding across the world music scene. 

Nick Calandro, bass, began playing at age 5 by working the bass pedals of the family Thomas organ, while his dad played songs like “Tequila” and “Five foot Two” on the keyboards.   Eventually he gravitated toward the guitar and bass guitar, being influenced by the popular rock and blues styles. 

As Nick grew older he chose bass exclusively and discovered a great love for all styles of jazz. As grateful as Nick is for his formal University education, he considers his fortunate association with seasoned veterans of the gig-scene to be just as important to his musical growth. 

Nick enjoys being a full-time musician, teaching and playing many different genres of music including funk, rock, folk, polka, and a range of ethnic styles, although jazz remains his favorite. 

Nick has played with such artists as Rob McConnell, Myron Floren, The Fifth Dimension,  “Mr. Bo” Collins, The Velvelettes, Billy Branch, Jerry Bergonzi,  Rick Margitza, Kevin Mahogany and Sesame Street’s Bob McGrath.  

Randy Marsh, drums, is known throughout the state of Michigan as the drummer of choice. His resume is distinguished and long but he has never rested on his well-deserved laurels. As a member of funk, organ group, Organissimo, Randy has found another outlet for his experience, his endless creativity, and his positive spirituality. 

Randy comes from a musical family. His father, Arno Marsh, played tenor in Woody Herman's Thundering Herd, Stan Kenton's big band, Lionel Hampton's big band, Maynard Ferguson's big band, and with musicians such as Buddy Rich and Sammy Davis Jr. among many, many others. Sadly, Arno passed away in 2019.  Randy also credits his mother, Grand Rapids jazz singer Mary Lou Marsh, for giving him a deep love of music and especially jazz. 

Randy has been drumming for almost 40 years and shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, he is at the peak of his playing with Organissimo, bringing fire and intensity as well as his trademark sense of humor. Like his hero Art Blakey, Randy's drumming is truly one of kind.