Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Musician Paul Nash Dies

Paul Nash, guitarist, composer and music educator died last Thursday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, NY due to complications from brain cancer at age 56.

Nash started his musical career as a teenager when his band performed at the Café Wha? in Greenwich Village, opening for the Blues Project and following a then-unknown guitarist named Jimi Hendrix. Years later, he would move to San Francisco and form the ten-piece Paul Nash Ensemble featuring drummer Eddie Marshall and trumpeter Mark Isham. In 1987, Nash co-founded the Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra, and three years later, Nash established the Manhattan New Music Project.

From 1979 to 2000, Nash released five albums featuring artists such as Tom Harrell, Jack Walrath and David Samuels. Nash is also the author of two books on rhythm structure and guitar fingering.

Nash’s distinct musical style blended rock, jazz and classical music, and he often used large ensembles in unique ways. One example is a composition from last year, Still Sounds Run Deep, which was performed in New York City’s parks by musicians who were strategically placed in various outdoor locations, wired to each other with walkie-talkies. The musicians then performed by interacting with the rhythms of those walking by and the sounds of the city.

In the last year of his life, Nash recorded two albums, Avant Noir and Jazz Cycles, with the help of producer Julia Reinhart. Nash also re-mastered a seven-part retrospective of his earlier works and completed Intimate Structures, a musical work for theater based on Lovers’ Discourse by the French philosopher Roland Barthes.

He is survived by his wife Marta, his sister Margo and his mother Anne.

A memorial fund will be established at the Manhattan New Music Project to further the distribution of Nash’s works. More information on Paul Nash and his work is available at

Originally Published