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. There's not a weak link among the nine tunes, all Nash originals. Trumpeter Marcus Printup, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Matt Wilson round out the first-rate quintet.
The record is also an example of the classic '50s and '60s jazz quintet tradition being kept alive and in fact substantially acknowledged, while being reincarnated in a contemporary artist's fresh and compelling vision. Kimbrough's piano solo on "Kensington High, for instance, is redolent of Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, yet still an original statement perfectly suited to Nash's modern composition. In other words, the honesty of Nash and his quintet's feeling and intent is paramount and unmistakable.
Another highlight is "Palace, which opens mysteriously and whose chord progression turns some interesting corners before some great interplay among Printup's bouncing trumpet lines, Kimbrough's staccato comping and the incessant forward pulse from Allison and Wilson. Nash's gently beautiful "The Cubist picks up the dark mood and modal quality of the opening track but travels until it emerges on sunnier, higher ground.
Track Listing: Kensington High; Gritty Ditty; In the Loop; Palace; Zaba's Dream; The Cubist; Durning's Dance; Cafe Dupa; Push.
Personnel: Ted Nash: tenor saxophone; Marcus Printup: trumpet; Frank Kimbrough: piano; Ben Allison: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.
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