Luke Nelson is best known as the founder of Chicago’s Luke and the Cool Hands, the original Cowboy Jazz band that won many awards and fans during its ten years. The band was invited to perform at the first Chicago Country Music Festival, Chicago’s legendary Green Mill, and Symphony Center (the home of the Chicago Symphony). Luke and the Cool Hands was a mainstay of the Chicago music scene, and recorded two CDs, including “That Cowboy Jazz” with Jazz trumpet star Brad Goode. They feature only a few of the one thousand songs Luke has written.
Luke can be heard on the original cast recording of Jim Post’s Mark Twain And The Laughing River, as well as CDs by Paul Kahn, Gary Cornelius and others.
Luke has worked with many jazz greats including Don Stiernberg, Jeff Newell, Johnny Frigo and his dear friend and mentor, Jon Hendricks.
In 2002 Luke Nelson and Eric Elias released a CD entitled My Compliments. The CD features original songs and arrangements for acoustic jazz guitar duet, in the tradition of Kress and McDonough.
In 2006 Luke released A Mighty Four-Four, his first solo effort on which he plays all the guitars, featuring his unique arrangements of familiar hymns.
A Mighty Four Four was performed on an Epiphone Deluxe archtop from 1939; a Heritage Eagle archtop from 1992; and a Martin OO21 flat top from a long time ago.