A New York City morning often starts early, sometimes 6 a.m., for this musician who is trying to elongate the hours available in a day. There's a lot to get to. Practicing the saxophone or flute. Sitting down to go through the elusive and demanding task of writing music worthy of the plateau, which these days seems to be a lot about commissioned work.Ted Nash is in demand.On the heels of his striking, and Grammy nominated, work for the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Portrait in Seven Shades (The Orchard, 2010)--the orchestra's first recording of ...read more
It seems just yesterday that Wynton Marsalis filled the chairs in the new Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with young unknown musicians. But here it is 2010 and most of the initial personnel have gone on to become important jazz figures leading their own groups and recording prolifically.
Among the most notable of these is Ted Nash. Born and raised in L.A. under the early tutelage of his father trombonist Dick and his uncle reedman Ted, young Nash played piano at 7 and began clarinet and alto sax at 12. By age 16 he was gigging with Lionel Hampton and initiating ...read more
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) is often derided as a bastion of conservatism, although it's not clear what is conservative about an epic like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' Congo Square (Blue Note, 2007), with its volleys of Ghanaian percussion and ensemble-singing in the Ga and Fante dialects. For that matter, the JLCO accommodates boundary-pushing musicians like Ted Nash, who holds a multi-woodwinds chair while still doing offbeat work with the likes of bassist Ben Allison and pianist Frank Kimbrough--not to mention his own groups, including Odeon and Still Evolved. Portrait in Seven Shades is Nash's entry ...read more
While Henry Mancini (1924-1994) borrowed plenty from jazz, he returned in kind by contributing a large body of fine, memorable music worthy of the melodic jazz tradition. Much of Mancini's best film music--particularly those scores from the early 1960s--sprang from the cool jazz" of the 1950s West Coast Scene and featured some of the era's best players. Aside from insanely catchy music, Mancini brilliantly fused instrumental colors and devised some of the cleverest musical patterns imaginable. Oddly, though, Mancini never inspired the great wealth of jazz tributes that composers such as Gershwin, Jobim or Ellington motivated over the last several ...read more
The music industry has been struggling to adapt to the death of brick-and-mortar outlets, the increasing independence of prominent artists, and the practice of downloading just one or two songs from an album, and not buying the rest. Each year more jazz labels shrink, dissolve into non-musical corporations or disappear altogether, inspiring some that remain to resort to gimmickry or musical dilution to hang onto their customers.
In the midst of all this mutation and compromise comes the steady and selective output of Palmetto Records, the 18-year-old indie that does most of its recording at an ...read more
By Ted NashDifferent themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it. - Pablo Picasso About two years ago, Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, asked me to compose a long-form piece to be performed at some future date by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He said it could be anything I wanted, but needed a theme. It didn't take me long to ...read more
Ted Nash and his Still Evolved quintet's thoroughly appealing In the Loop opens with a strong whiff of the early to mid-'60s Blue Note era, as if the wind which filled the sails of Maiden Voyage stirred again to nudge Nash's embarkation. The opening original Kensington High, with its misty atmosphere of cymbals and snare rolls and its minor key modal feel, features an appropriately contemplative solo by pianist Frank Kimbrough and the first evidence of Nash's robust, firm and sometimes raspy tenor sax. In the Loop is noteworthy for the solidity and warmth of its compositions. ...read more