Thoughts on Derek Nash’s Acoustic Quartet, 7 December 2022

If you are looking for joyous music, look no farther than Derek Nash and his Acoustic Quartet. Multi-(and mighty-)saxophonist Derek has been travelling with pianist David Newton, bassist Geoff Gascoyne and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom for some years. They played  at  Fleece Jazz in  2014.

It would have  been apparent to anyone in  he audience that had not known the group, that the group were very top drawer musicians who knew each other very well. So every cue was spot on, obligatos in the mind of the soloist, all that professional stuff. But it was also as if it was new to them, fresh and so much fun. This really is one of our favourite bands.

A lovely example of the freshness: In 2014 they played a song called “Voodoo Rex”, (Derek and his father wrote this one) which I knew a note at a time as we recorded it and made a video.  They played it again at this gig. it had the same vibe, backbeat, tempo, tune. It was if they had never played it before. Joyous music indeed.

See you at the Manby gig on Wednesday. It will be a cracker.


Take care,

From Steve, the set list, beautifully annotated.


  1. My Romance (Rodgers, Hart & Lorenz) played in two keys like the version by Wes Montgomery
  2. Blue House Samba (D. Nash) – the blue house in question was the house of the artist Frida Kahlo.  A spritely soprano-led piece full of twists and turns. Standout solos from Geoff Gascoyne whose nimble dexterity on bass is featured and an outstanding solo from Sebastiaan De Krom building from the initial samba rhythm.
  3. My, But You Make That Dress Look Lovely (D. Nash) – the lyrical inspiration for this composition was based on a chat-up line of Duke Ellington.  It featured Derek on baritone sax in an Ellingtonian setting.
  4. Voodoo Rex (D. Nash) – a rather good audio-visual recording of this number was made by Gerry England and Dave Lyons the last time the quartet performed at Fleece Jazz.  It has since been used on the Derek Nash website and can be found on youtube.
  5. October (D. Nash) – features Derek on tenor sax with Dave Newton’s endless poise on piano
  6. You’ve Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig? (D. Nash) based on an idiosyncratic piece of advice from the legendary Thelonious Monk

*          *          *           *         *        *        *

  1. Hallelujah Time (Oscar Peterson) – performed by the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra as a two-tenor chase. Derek’s dad was an arranger for the NDO and so Derek would have heard a lot of their music in his early years and into his teens.
  2. All The Things You Are (J. Kern) – inspired by the interpretation by Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Paul Desmond on alto sax. Recordings exist which included both musicians guesting with the Dave Brubeck trio.  Here Derek takes the role of Mulligan on baritone and Dave plays Desmond’s part adapted for piano with flurries of Brubeck in there.
  3. Waltz For My Father (P. Nash/D. Nash) – a joint father-son composition 
  4. Lil’ darlin’ (Neal Hefti) – a jazz standard, composed and arranged for the Count Basie Orchestra.  This version was more uptempo and mixed in with “Cute”,  by the same composer and performers.
  5. Moonlight in Vermont (K. Suessdorf/J. Blackburn) – an arrangement by David Newton with shades of Debussy and impressionistic lyricism. Truly beautiful and a standout of the gig which brought roars of approval at the end.
  6. The G Mail Special (D. Nash) – Derek’s updated version of the jazz standard, “Air Mail Special, made famous by, amongst others, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald.

      Encore: Water Jug (Gene Ammons)

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