musician from Somerville, Massachusetts, who began playing professionally
at the age of 17. He is the brother of trombonist Dick
Nash and the uncle of his namesake who is a multi-reed musician in his own
From 1941 to
1946, he was a member of Les Brown’s orchestra, and one of their most
famous recordings was the #1 “Sentimental Journey” with Doris
Day on lead vocals.
By 1946, he
was in the studio with his own quintet, this time with Marie Bryant as the
vocalist, recording “I’ve Got a Pocketful of
Dreams”. A pared-down Ted
Nash Quartette also recorded an album in 1946, named after their leader,
who multi-tasked on alto and tenor sax. Some of this material also appeared
on Tenor Sax Solos, Vols. 2 &
3. Around this time, he was
also recording with Jimmy Jones’ outfit, and these tracks can be
heard on The Chronological Jimmy
Jones 1946-1947. The turn
of the decade found him accompanying Frankie Laine
on the album, Frankie Laine Sings His All Time Favorites.
He and his
brother Dick recorded as The Brothers Nash from 1954 to 1956 on the LP Juntos, on
which he is credited with alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet, flute, piccolo,
soprano sax, and tenor sax.
Perhaps the reason for the two-year recording date was that Ted was
still busy working with other artists on albums such as Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter
Song Book, Frank Sinatra’s Songs
for Swingin’ Lovers, and the soundtrack
of Around the World in Eighty Days,
all released in 1956. In 1957,
he teamed up with Elmer Bernstein and Chico Hamilton on Sweet Smell of Success and enjoyed
his own success on Star Eyes –
The Artistry of Ted Nash.
One of his
most famous recordings is the theme from the TV series Peter Gunn, composed by Henry Mancini, with whom he would
collaborate quite a bit. The Music from Peter Gunn and More Music from Peter Gunn were both
released in 1959. In 1959 and
1960, he was in the studio with Elmer Bernstein and Andre Previn recording Staccato/Paris
Swings. He spent much of
the’60s performing with Henry Mancini on albums such as The Blues and the Beat, The Mancini Touch, Combo!, and the following soundtrack
albums: The Days of Wine and Roses, Hatari!, Charade, Arabesque, and Gunn… Number One!
Music from the Film Score.
He did a
complete 180 in 1967, performing with The Monkees
on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn &
Jones Ltd. and recording Lumpy
Gravy with Frank Zappa. In
1969, he appeared on Lalo Schifrin’s
soundtrack of Che!. More soundtrack work followed in
1977 in the form of the TV mini-series, Washington: Behind Closed Doors. He then appeared with Don Ellis Live in Montreux
One of his
last recordings appears to be Frank Sinatra’s 1979 boxed set, Trilogy, although there are myriad
opportunities to hear him on CDs such as The Complete Anita O’Day Verve/Clef
Sessions, Ella Fitzgerald Sings
the Rodgers and Hart Song Book, and John Williams’ Indiana Jones: The Complete Soundtracks Collection.
also lives on in sheet-music form:
Many a budding saxophonist has cut his teeth on Ted Nash’s In High Harmonics, two dozen pages
of music instruction featuring songs ranging from “All or Nothing at
All” to “Leap Frog”, which he recorded in 1946.