It was therefore a natural progression to start playing alto sax when he was 8.
Along with his brother Clive he took lessons from a local saxophone tutor, Victor Yates, and played in many big bands, being schooled in everything from Glen Miller to Rob McConnell.
When they were 11 both Nigel and Clive joined NYJO, rehearsing every Saturday and performing regularly across the country. After only a year Nigel took the lead alto chair where he remained for 5 years, during which time the band toured with stars such as Vic Damone, Buddy Greco and Al Martino. Through his new-found NYJO connections, Nigel began to play with various other big bands, function bands and jazz combos, as well as studying for his exams at his local comprehensive school.
After leaving school at sixteen, and already a seasoned professional, Nigel walked straight into the London session scene, recording TV jingles, movie soundtracks, pop solos and various other library albums, as he still does today.
In 1989 Nigel joined the contemporary saxophone quartet Itchy Fingers – this band, with its incredibly taxing compositions, gave him the perfect opportunity to use his photographic memory and awesome technical ability, which can be heard on the album Itchy Fingers Live. He toured Europe and South-East Asia with the foursome over an 18 month period, leaving to continue his pop/session career just after receiving 3 jazz awards, the Schlitz award for rising star, the Cleo Laine Personal Award for best young musician, and the Pat Smythe Trust award (voted for by musicians).
Throughout the 90’s Nigel’s reputation grew and he was in constant demand well into the noughties, not only in the studios and as a jazz musician, but also touring extensively with artists like Tom Jones and Wet,Wet,Wet. He also appeared on TV many times backing artists like James Brown, Robbie Williams and The Spice Girls.
In early 2004 Nigel made a quite astounding change in his life, moving to the Isle of Skye and playing with a local band, the Peatbog Faeries with bagpipes and fiddles in a rock context. Playing with other highland bands and doing online sessions kept him busy, and then in 2009 Nigel moved from Skye to Strathdon in Aberdeenshire.
Since arriving back in the south in late 2011, Nigel has performed on The Voice with the winner Leanne Mitchell, toured with George Michael, recorded and gigged with Mark Knopfler, and recorded a classical alto sax concerto for Brian Byrne’s ‘Tales From The Walled City’.