Dave is an exceptionally talented musician, that rare combination of a superb classical pianist and totally groovy jazz player and improvisor. He puts himself totally into any performance and it shows. Ailie Kerrane
'Dave is amazingly versatile — over the years we've especially enjoyed for example memorable solo and duo classical pieces at Heptonstall Church and Square Chapel, late night bar-room jazz with Peadar Long, and rollicking performances as a centre piece for the Big Soul Band with Doris and the Dinner Ladies. We're really lucky he lives in Hebden Bridge!' Graham and Maria Heafford
David performs regularly in concert, giving solo recitals. With guidance from his tutor/mentor French music specialist Paul Roberts, David has developed an impressive repertoire of piano music by Debussy and Ravel. He also has a large and outstanding repertoire of Baroque, Classical and Romantic piano music in addition to other 20th century masters such as Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Bartok.
Click the arrow to hear David play an excerpt from Rachmaninov's Prelude opus 23, no 5
Some recent themed recitals (as a rough guide only)
'I went to hear Dave play at the Square Chapel in Halifax last year with my Mum who's 89 and used to play the piano. We really enjoyed it and still talk about it! It inspired me to keep practising.' Dory Glynn
David's ability as a musician is matched by an astonishingly versatility. I've really enjoyed social evenings listening to some great jazz playing but I also recall some concerts where David has offered inspirational interpretations of, for example Stravinsky and Brahms.Andrew Bibby
Concerto soloist David has performed many of the greatest Piano concerti, notably with the Pennine Spring Music Festival Orchestra and with the Leeds Chamber Orchestra.
Works performed include:
Mozart (several), Beethoven 2,3 and 4, Grieg, Schumann, Rachmaninov 2 and 3, Tchaikovsky 1 and Ravel. Also De Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Franck: Symphonic Variations.
'Dave brings the piano to life through his vast repertoire and wonderful performances'David and Connie Gott
Duets David is well known for his duet work with fellow pianist Roger Scaife, a partnership formed in 1993. Their repertoire covers most of the 4-hands writing of Mozart, Schubert, Debussy and Brahms. Recent perfomances have included works by Satie, Rachmaninov and Schumann, a selection of Eastern European music including the Brahms Hungarian Dances and Dvorak's Legends and Slavonic Dances and memorably Stravinsky's Rite of Spring arranged by the composer for piano duet.
Click the arrow to hear David and Roger play Rachmaninov Op 11 no 2 Scherzo
Accompanying David has considerable experience as an accompanist: his work ranges from working with young singers and instrumentalists for their music grade exams, to performing in concert with singers from Opera North. He always enjoys this kind of work immensely, as it brings him into contact with a variety of orchestral instruments and a very different repertoire that can often provide considerable inspiration for his teaching and solo performing.
Dave regularly gives solo jazz concerts, often bringing his inimitable style to a considerable repertoire of jazz standards, but also playing his own compositions which come under a general title of Jazz Excursions. These virtuosic pieces are as much influenced by his great enthusiasm for and knowledge of the great panoply of world music as by more straight-ahead jazz styles. The fusion of these musical elements combined with contemporary classical and avant-garde overtones is what gives him such a fascinating and distinctive style.
Still Life - solo piano, composed by David Nelson (excerpt)
One Thursday each month Dave introduces HX7 Jazz Club at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge.
Dave's skills as a performer are equally evident in his ensemble work which includes Tongue and Groove, a 5-piece band playing jazz/world music compositions all written by Dave and by co-founder saxophonist Peadar Long.
Tongue & Groove started in 1992 as a duo, with Dave on piano/keyboards and Peadar playing soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet, flute and Irish whistles. Over the years Tongue & Groove expanded to a 3, 4, then 8-piece line-up and since 1998 the band has had a stable membership of five, the others being Stuart Macdonald (soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones), Jenni Myhill-Molloy (double bass and cello) and Chris Sykes (drums and percussion).
C Change - composed by David Nelson, performed by Tongue & Groove
Tongue & Groove have performed regularly throughout the North, with memorable and outstanding performances at Marsden Jazz, Bradford and Hebden Bridge festivals, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Halifax Square Chapel, Burnley Mechanics Institute and Leeds Millennium Square . They have regularly featured well-known guest musicians; recent gigs have seen them onstage with trumpeter Claude Deppa, the outstanding Omar Puente (violin) and the highly acclaimed trombonist Dennis Rollins.
Dave and Peadar also work together in Celestial Echoes: a suite of pieces conceived specifically for performance in sacred spaces and setting out to exploit the natural resonance of such buildings. It has been performed in churches, cathedrals and arts centres all over the north of England , memorably at Hexham Abbey in Northumberland in front of an audience of 500. The suite was written and/or arranged by Peadar (several traditional melodies are incorporated into the original writing) with numerous contributions from Dave who has been involved in the project since its inception.
The Hand of God - composed by David Nelson, part of Celestial Echoes
The remainder of the line up features members of Tongue & Groove (amongst others). The music, which is influenced by folk and classical styles as well as by jazz, is inspirational and uplifting; its performance always entertaining and delivered with sense of fun. Jazz fans appreciate it, but the band is always gratified by the frequently overheard “I don't normally like jazz, but I love this!”
Over the years Dave has performed in an amazingly wide variety of places including restaurants, piano bars, pubs and clubs; also at private functions, weddings (see TopWeddingPianist.co.uk), theatre shows, school events, on a canal boat and even at Mel Gibson's apartment in Cannes!
Click the arrow to hear David play an excerpt from 'You go to my head'
(by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie)
His repertoire of songs and tunes (pop, rock ballads, country, musicals, film theme tunes, singalong etc plus jazz standards and popular classics) is vast and is increasing by the day! Being equally blessed with excellent reading skills and the ability to play well by ear, he can quickly learn new numbers (from both music and recordings), play requests and also accompany other musicians when necessary.