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Ted Nash: The Goal Is Creativity

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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 ...

NEW YORK BEAT

The Ted Nash Quintet at Dizzy's

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: Portrait in Seven Shades

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: The Mancini Project

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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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Kate McGarry, Fred Hersch and Ted Nash: A Trio from Palmetto

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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 ...

MEGAPHONE

Portrait in Seven Shades

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By Ted Nash“Different 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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash and Still Evolved: In the Loop

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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. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash & Still Evolved: In the Loop

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Ted Nash's modern mainstream quintet creates impressions that let your mind run free. Like his band's eponymous Palmetto debut from 2003, In the Loop features the leader's compositions in a creative, emotional affair. Much of the program resembles the work that Nash does with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, mixing tradition and invention together in one adventurous melting pot.

Nash, 46, has a creative tenor style and enjoys the freedom that this format allows. There's more space per individual when you've only got five artists on the bandstand. Each member of this veteran quintet comes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: In The Loop

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For In The Loop, tenor saxophonist Ted Nash reconvened his mainstream quintet, last heard on Still Evolved (Palmetto, 2003). Trafficking in fresh interpretations of straight-ahead jazz, Nash's quintet may not be as conceptually unorthodox as his global jazz ensemble, Odeon, but his freewheeling aesthetic flourishes regardless of the setting.

Nash is no stranger to traditional forms of jazz, having spent his formative years playing with Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan and Louie Bellson, among others. Currently a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under the leadership of Wynton Marsalis (who is featured on Still Evolved), his view of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: La Espada De La Noche

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The first thing you notice on “A Night in Tunisia, which opens the wonderful La Espada De La Noche, is the accordion, which is not the most heavily used instrument in jazz, to say the least. The next thing is Ted Nash's beautiful, soft, caressing sax sound, followed by the “full band, which excludes a bassist but includes Clark Gayton's tuba and Nathalie Bonin's “straight violin. The main theme is then treated as a tango mixed with a Eastern European folk song, and it all works. Nash then takes an engaging solo against swinging, walking tuba and light drums, until ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

A Love Supreme and La Espada de la Noche

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For years, jazz artists have shied away from A Love Supreme, treating it as somehow too iconic, too hallowed or at least too uniquely tied to its composer to cover. Who would dare try to improve on the perfection the Coltrane quartet achieved on their legendary 1964 Impulse! recording? Wynton Marsalis, that's who. And it's a good thing. As one of the most important, popular and magnificently realized works in the jazz pantheon, A Love Supreme deserves its place in the jazz repertoire, too. Unfortunately, it also deserves a more inspired treatment than Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash & Odeon: La Espada De La Noche

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Best known for his work within straight-ahead classic jazz--from early apprenticeships with the Lionel Hampton and Quincy Jones bands through today's collaborations with Wynton Marsalis--Ted Nash has used his Odeon projects to show another, more outward looking and, some might say, more interesting and innovative aspect of his musical interests. With Odeon, Nash weaves tango (and a dash of East European street music) into the New Orleans to Lincoln Center straight-ahead tradition to create an inventive, lyrical, and frequently playful concoction which is practically guaranteed to give you a sunnier outlook on the day ahead.

This is no ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: Still Evolved

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Ted Nash's work with Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Don Ellis, the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Herbie Nichols Project and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra has earned the saxophonist a reputation for living in the mainstream. At 43, he’s in a position to continue shaping the landscape of straight-ahead jazz through his innovative ideas.

The title of Still Evolved refers to the growth we’ve witnessed in the modern mainstream during the jazz resurgence of the past decade. That it will continue to grow and blossom and produce strange fruit is a given. This session of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ted Nash: Still Evolved

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Still Evolved can be heard as an accidental suite, a collection of compositions that hang together independent of design. Ted Nash is most recently holding down a tenor chair in the Kennedy Center Jazz Orchestra. Here he turns his attention to small group performance and composition... with a hurricane-like creative force. Mr. Nash has composed eight pieces for the standard trumpet-tenor quintet. And the music is a fresh as strawberries bursting on the roof of your mouth.

Besides an uncanny compositional technique, Mr. Nash chooses his bandmates well. From the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra he picks Wynton Marsalis ...



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