At the forefront of the British Jazz movement, Derek Nash is "one of the most versatile saxophonists in the UK today" (The Guardian
Derek has been a member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra since 2004, has led Sax Appeal for over thirty years, fronts the funk/fusion band Protect the Beat, and is a member of the Ronnie Scott's Blues Explosion.
He is renowned for his energetic, vibrant, passionate and charismatic performances on all four saxophones - from sonorous baritone to soaring soprano - and is an award-winning performer having received the John Dankworth Award and the British Jazz Award (Small Group) for Sax Appeal. He received Best Jazz CD of the Year for Young Lions, Old Tigers with the late Spike Robinson, receiving the same British Jazz Award for "Joyriding" by The Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet in 2012. He regularly appears in the British Jazz awards nominations in several categories (Alto/Tenor and Baritone) and was nominated for Jazz Musician of the Year by the Global Music Foundation.
He has recorded three solo CDs - Setting New Standards (1998) alongside Clark Tracey, Alec Dankworth and Graham Harvey; Snapshot (2009) with Jan Lundgren, Geoff Gascoyne and Steve Brown; and Joyriding (2012) with the multi-award winning pianist Dave Newton, and Geoff Gascoyne and Sebastiaan de Krom.
With the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Derek performs approaching 100 gigs per year, including for 65,000 people at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium and for over 100,000 at the Glastonbury Festival, where he was a featured soloist, and he also appears on the last seven CDs. He has performed live and on TV with such greats as Eric Clapton, Amy Winehouse, Emeli Sande, Jessie J, Sir Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke, Annie Lennox, Eddie Floyd, Sam Moore, Madeleine Peyroux, Roger Daltrey, David Sanborn, Eddi Reader and Tom Jones.
Sax Appeal has featured some of the leading saxophonists in the UK including Mornington Lockett, Gary Plumley, Bob McKay, Scott Garland, Simon Allen, Nigel Hitchcock, Dave O'Higgins, Paul Booth, Tim Garland and Matt Wates. They are supported by the top rhythm section of Phil Scragg (bass), Mike Bradley (drums) and Pete Adams (piano). They have recorded six CDs - Flat Out (1991), Let's Go (1994), Outside In (1997), Take No Prisoners (2000), The Flatiron Suite (2006) and Funkerdeen (2014). The Sax Appeal Big Band is an enlarged version of the core group with the addition of four trumpets and three trombones and features some of the best including Winston Rollins, Martin Gladdish, Richard Henry, Martin Shaw, Jon Scott, Danny Marsden and Gabriel Garrick. Their long-awaited first CD will be recorded soon.
Protect the Beat performs original, contemporary funk/groove material, following in the giant steps of the great Morrisey Mullen and The Yelowjackets. Playing at Jazz festivals around the world, the band features Darby Todd (drums), Winston Blissett (bass), Arden Hart (piano) and Tim Cansfield (guitar) who have played with, among others, Massive Attack, George Clinton, Buddy Whittington and The Bee Gees. They have released two CDs - It Ain't Dinner Jazz (2002) and Intrepid (2007).
As a member of the Ronnie Scott's Blues Explosion, Derek performs regularly at the world-famous club alongside blues greats Tony Remy (guitar), Marcus Bonfanti (vocals and guitar), Paddy Milner (vocals and piano), Nick Cohen (bass), Frank Tontoh (drums), Paul Newton (trumpet) and Winston Rollins (trombone). They regularly feature top blues guests, one of which was Jack Bruce. He was so impressed with the band that he invited them to become his regular European touring band.
As much a composer and arranger as a performer, Derek has composed virtually all the Sax Appeal repertoire. His Setting New Standards CD was a collaboration with his father Pat Nash,(arranger for the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra for over 35 years) and his CD - Joyriding - includes seven new and diverse compositions. He has also composed for TV and radio. As an arranger, he has written for Annie Lennox, Mavis Staples, Alison Moyet, Lulu, Kylie Minogue, Ruby Turner, David Sanborn, Dave Edmunds, Martha Reeves and the Vandelas and the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
He has appeared on CDs with many other artists including Don Grusin, George Melly, Bob Dorough, Jools Holland, Tom Jones, Peter Green, Shakatak, Lulu, David Sanborn, India Arie, Geoff Gascoyne, Alison Moyet, Digby Fairweather and Trudy Kerr.
As a performer, he has played with Don and Dave Grusin, John Dankworth, Ray Gelato, John Ehteridge, Russell Ferrante, Nelson Rangell, Snake Davis, Bob Dorough, Oscar Castro Neves, Lillian Boutte, Clare Teal, Jamie Cullum, Humphrey Lyttelton and Alan Barnes. He has also worked with boogie-maestro Ben Waters, appearing on his CDs Shakin' in the Makin', Hurricane and Boogie for Stu (alongside Keith Richards) and performing a series of dates with Axel Zwingenberger, Dave Green and Charlie Watts.
Derek owns and operates Clowns Pocket Recording Studios. As a record producer and engineer, Derek has worked with such musicians as Jamie Cullum (he received a gold disc forPointless Nostalgic), Bobby Wellins, Stan Tracey, Martin Drew, Georgie Fame, Alan Barnes, Tim Garland, Geoff Gascoyne, Tony Remy, Dave O'Higgins, Eric Alexander, Kirk Lightsley, Clark Tracey, Tom Cawley's Curios and Trudy Kerr, with whom he is also co-director of Jazzizit Records, a UK independent Jazz label.
How it all began.....
Derek was born in Stockport and is the son of Pat Nash, who was a respected arranger for the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra for over thirty-five years. His musical journey started with piano, aged six, followed by saxophone, aged 13, having been inspired by hearing the NDO tenor saxophonist, Gary Cox, play The Pink Panther! He joined Stockport Schools Stagesound which, having won Music for Youth, led to performances in the Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. It also led to performances with Ronnie Scott, Don Lusher and Henry Lowther.
The sax section of Stockport Schools Stagesound formed the early Sax Appeal, who went on to win the National Festival of Music for Youth (small band category), leading to more performances at the Royal Albert Hall and performing original compositions on television and radio for the Schools Proms. Whilst studying at University, Derek became the Musical Director of Stockport Schools Stagesound returning as conductor, once again, to the Albert Hall.
In 1982, Derek graduated from Salford University with a degree in electroacoustics and on moving to London to join the BBC's sound department, had fun on the lighter side with programmes such as The Young Ones, The Two Ronnies and The Kenny Everett Show. He was also involved in the soundtracks for The Generation Game, Blankety Blank, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Porgy and Bess, and Bobby Davro's Rock With Laughter! He also had the pleasure of mixing the Branford Marsalis Quartet, the Don Cherry Band, Orphy Robinson and Julian Joseph for television broadcast.
On moving to London, Derek joined Mr B Plays Basie (meeting trombonist Mark Bassey, trumpeter Kevin Robinson and trombonist Ashley Slater) and reformed Sax Appeal with Jamie Talbot, Dave Bishop, Pete Hurt and Simon Hale included in the line-up. They became a busy touring band, visiting Cork Jazz Festival, the Marciac Jazz Festival and the British Council tour of Venezuela. The sax section became part of Barbara Thompson's Big Band, Moving Parts, for whom Derek wrote Two's Company, which later became Mekambo Triangle. He also formed a partnership with the US tenor saxophonist Spike Robinson, forming the Young Lions, Old Tigers Band.
Since the late 1980s, Derek has established his successful solo career, performing at many jazz clubs throughout the UK and touring with, among others, Matt Bianco's vocalist Basia, Suzi Quatro and The Bootleg Beatles. In 2000, he appeared in the top five of no less than five different categories in the British Jazz Awards and also, at this time, decided to go part-time at the BBC, eventually leaving in 2003 to concentrate fully on his performing and recording careers, establishing Clowns Pocket Recording Studio as one of the leading jazz studios in the UK. He has been quoted by John Etheridge as being "the UK's answer to Rudy van Gelder".
As part of Trudy Kerr's Jazz for Juniors, he is passionate about introducing young people to jazz and, as ever, his quest is to keep music live.
Performing "I Wish it Could be Christmas" with Roy Wood - in Birmingham! Twas the night before Christmas Eve with 5000 people singing along
Performing "All the Young Dudes" with Ian Hunter on Jools' Hootenanny. I loved this track as a teenager so to perform it with Ian was a joy
Performing "The Purple People Eater" with Barry Cryer and "Gordon is a Moron" with Jilted John (aka Graham Fellows). Two comedy classics from my childhood!
Premiering The Flatiron Suite in Boulder, Colorado with Russ Ferrante (from the Yellowjackets) on piano and receiving a standing ovation from 2500 people. Overwhelming!
Sitting beside Oscar Castro Neves (Jobim's guitarist) whilst he performed The Girl from Ipanema. Amazing to hear wonderful bossa nova in such an intimate setting
Playing, arranging and directing a session with David Sanborn and the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. David asked me to perform his features first. A frightening experience which was followed by the comment "hey - you don't need me. This cat's got all my licks!" A really genuine and nice guy.
The rehearsal with Eric Clapton, backstage at Cardiff Millennium Stadium, where Eric sang un-amplified and played guitar through a 10 watt practice amp. Real blues in the most intimate of settings.
Saxagrams - don't ask. I was young and needed the money - and no, I didn't take my clothes off!!
Playing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" for a condom advert! 'Nuff said!
Performing at the Royal Albert Hall, but to less than 50 people for a very badly advertised charity gig. A sad sight!