Born: December 30, 1958 Primary Instrument: Drums
Lewis Nash (born December 30, 1958) is an American jazz drummer. Nash grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was encouraged into jazz by his high school band teacher. By the age of 18, Nash was a first call sideman for visiting musicians to Phoenix, and received the call to move to New York and join Betty Carter's band at the age of 22. Nash became a highly in demand sideman during this period, and since his tenure with Carter, has gone onto record and tour with some of the most important and highly regarded musicians of all time, among them Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Ray Brown, Gerald Wilson, Horace Silver, Ron Carter, Hank Jones, Benny Carter, Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson and many others.
Though renowned as a master stylist, particularly in be- bop and post-bop styles, Nash is seemingly at home in a wide range of stylistic territory, including funk, free, and latin based jazz styles, and his versatility has made him one of the most in demand drummers of the past two decades. Nash is known for his seemingly endless depth of melodic vocabulary, drawing from all eras of jazz percussion, while adding his own unmistakably identifiable approach to the construction of his comping figures and soloing. This indentifiable voice puts Nash on a shortlist of drummers of the past 20 years, who have managed to incorporate the important traditions of American jazz music without overshadowing their individuality.
Nash's style can be characterized by a few defining elements. An unrelenting ride cymbal beat, dazzling melodic invention between the snare, toms and bass drum, cymbal crashes which resolve these figures in complex, unpredictable ways, crisp technical execution of rudimental figures, a huge sweeping brush sound, and the use of three toms (10, 12, 14), which give Nash a pianistic range of melodic possibilities. Nash is recognized as one of the foremost brush stylists of his generation. In particular, Nash's recordings with the great pianist Tommy Flanagan display his mastery in this regard.
Nash is also renowned in the jazz drumming community for his passion and dedication to jazz education, and has fostered the careers of a long list of younger players. He is in high demand as a clinician and educator at schools, workshops and major educational jazz festivals worldwide. He formed his own group in the late 1990s and currently leads several groups of varying instrumentation, from duo to septet.
Nash has made 3 recordings as a leader: Rhythm is My Business (1989), It Don't Mean A Thing (2003 Japanese import) and Stompin' At The Savoy (2005 Japanese import).