Born and raised in Manchester, Derek Nash is the son of the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra’s chief arranger, Pat Nash.
His musical career began from the alto chair of Stockport School's Stagesound, an award-winning youth big band, to which he would later return as musical director. In 1980, whilst studying Acoustics at Salford University, Derek formed the award-winning eight-piece jazz-funk-fusion ensemble Sax Appeal. 20 years later, it was voted best small group in the 2000 British Jazz Awards.
Sax Appeal has released five albums: Flat Iron Suite (2006); Take No Prisoners - Live (2000); Outside In (1997); Let's Go (1994); and Flat Out (1991).
His jazz-funk outfit, Protect the Beat, plays festivals around the world. The band’s debut album, It Ain't Dinner Jazz, was released in 2003, and its second, Intrepid, came out in 2007.
Derek released Setting New Standards in 2000, an album featuring Alec Dankworth and Clark Tracey alongside Incognito keyboardist Graham Harvey. The same year, he won a British Jazz Award for Young Lions, Old Tigers, the album he recorded with the late Spike Robinson.
In 2003, he was in the top five of no less than five categories at the British Jazz Awards. As a member of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Derek has performed in front of over 65,000 people at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and to over 100,000 at Glastonbury. He has appeared live and on TV with many high profile performers including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Lulu, Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, Will Young, David Sanborn and Mavis Staples.
As a solo artist, Derek has played with Dave Grusin, Nelson Rangell, Spike Robinson, and Branford Marsalis, plus UK jazz names such as Jamie Cullum, Mornington Lockett, Dave O'Higgins, Alan Barnes, Ray Gelato, Humphrey Lyttelton, Trudy Kerr and many more.
He has also performed and recorded with Ben Waters’ Boogie Band, The Soul Survivors and Peter Green. As a recording engineer, he was awarded a gold disc for his work on Jamie Cullum’s Pointless Nostalgic, and has recorded for Bobby Wellins, Dave O’Higgins, Martin Drew, Geoff Gascoyne, Georgie Fame, Bob Dorough, and George Melly, amongst others.