How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
At a time when the marketplace seems to be dominated by the sounds of "smooth jazz," it's encouraging to know that recordings such as these are still being produced. Saxophonist Ted Nash, who grew up in a very musical family, composed and arranged the entire CD and it's an ambitious, challenging piece of work. With the support of the Jazz Composers Collective, an organization dedicated to the development and exploration of new music, Nash has been given the opportunity to freely express his wide-ranging creativity. Rhyme & Reason employs the talents of Nash's frequent collaborators Frank Kimbrough (piano) and Ben Allison (bass), along with a string quartet consisting of two violins, a viola and a cello. Marrying jazz to the classics can be dicey proposition, but Nash's restrained use of strings adds greatly to the texture and mood of his compositions. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis ( Apollo 9 and Sisters ) and vibisit Erik Charlston ( Rhyme and Longing ) provide additional solo "firepower" to the recording. Rhyme & Reason demands repeated plays, but patient, open-minded listeners will be amply rewarded for their efforts. ***