"The Most Valuable Player in Jazz"
“Rhythm Is My Business” is the title of Lewis Nash’s 1989 debut recording, and the legendary drummer is all about the business of keeping rhythm. Universally recognized as one of the great drummers in jazz history, his illustrious career spans more than four decades.
Lewis arrived in New York City in 1981 and gained international recognition as a member of vocalist Betty Carter’s trio. This was a pivotal time in his development, as he traveled the world for nearly four years with Carter and met many of his musical peers and predecessors.
In the years to follow, Nash toured, recorded, and performed with many of jazz’s most celebrated icons, and his resume reads like a “who’s who” of jazz royalty. These jazz legends include Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, JJ Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Gerry Mulligan, Hank Jones, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, Jimmy Heath, Randy Weston, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, and Wynton and Branford Marsalis.
“Nash has the distinction of being the only musician in jazz history featured in both the Best Jazz Vocal and Best Jazz Instrumental Grammy winners list in two separate years.”
Nash is one of jazz’s most recorded musicians, appearing on more than 500 recordings that include 10 Grammy winners and numerous Grammy nominees. In fact, Nash has the distinction of being the only musician in jazz history featured in both the “Best Jazz Vocal” and “Best Jazz Instrumental” winners list in two separate years: in 2004 with Nancy Wilson and McCoy Tyner and in 2010 with Dee Dee Bridgewater and James Moody.
In 2012, The Nash was established in his hometown of Phoenix. It has been a focal point of the city’s jazz activity since its inception and has been named consistently by Downbeat Magazine as a top jazz venue.
In 2017, Nash joined the jazz studies faculty at Arizona State University. In early 2021, the Lewis Nash Scholarship Endowment was created by the university to be awarded annually to a deserving ASU jazz performance student.
Lewis Nash is in great demand for his educational expertise as well as his drumming skills, and presents clinics, masterclasses, and workshops at institutions worldwide. He was a member of the first jazz studies faculty at The Juilliard School and has been a member of the faculty of the annual Vail Jazz Workshop for the past 20 years.