b. 28 July 1961, Stockport, Cheshire, England. His father, Pat Nash, was chief arranger for the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra, then based in Manchester. Exposed to music from early childhood, Derek was prompted to develop as a musician and from the age of 12 he concentrated his attention on saxophones. One of his father’s colleagues on the Northern Dance Orchestra, saxophonist Gary Cox, became Nash’s first tutor. He was influenced towards jazz after hearing Sonny Stitt on record and among other early influences was David Sanborn. Nash began playing alto saxophone in local school bands but, despite his interest in music, at university he moved to the non-playing side of the profession and studied acoustics, thereafter developing a parallel career as a sound engineer and record producer. In the early 80s, Nash, who also plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones as well as flute, formed a jazz band, Sax Appeal, an octet that had five saxophones. The saxophonists in an early edition of this band included Scott Garland, Mornington Lockett, Bob McKay and Gary Plumley, while the band used on Flatiron Suite had regulars and guests Garland, McKay, Plumley, Paul Booth, Nelson Rangell, Adrian Revell and Matt Wates. Sax Appeal won awards, toured the UK and visited Venezuela for the British Council.
Over the years, Nash also formed other bands including Protect The Beat (with drummer Darby Todd), Atlantik Avenue, and he was co-leader with veteran tenor saxophonist Spike Robinson of an acclaimed mainstream band. Nash’s career has found him playing with groups such as Jools Holland’s R&B-rooted big band, Clark Tracey’s quartet, and Pete Long’s Gillespiana. He has also played with Alan Barnes, John Burch, Bob Dorough, Russell Ferrante, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, Jon Hiseman, Lanny Morgan, Barbara Thompson and Roy Williams. He has worked often with singer Trudy Kerr and her bass player husband Geoff Gascoyne. Alongside his packed playing schedule, Nash continues to work as a sound engineer and producer, running his own Clown’s Pocket Studios. He has worked on albums by artists such as Jamie Cullum, Martin Drew, David Newton, Dave O’Higgins and Bobby Wellins. Nash also composes extensively, writing much of the material for his own bands, among which is the ongoing Sax Appeal. His compositions include the very well received ‘Flatiron Suite’. Stylistically, Nash is comfortable in a wide range of jazz, playing with verve and fluency in many settings among which are post-bop and mainstream.