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Manhattan New Music Project: Jazz Cycles (The Music of Paul Nash)

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Paul Nash—composer, teacher, and guitarist—learned in 2003 that he had a fatal brain tumor. He decided to leave a final legacy in a project that would remaster and reissue his earlier Paul Nash Ensemble recordings. This is the first of two discs—the proceeds of which will go to a fund to continue the promotion of further work.

The Manhattan New Project is the septet of colleagues and friends that Nash selected to record this extraordinarily rich collection of musical ideas—on which Nash had been working for thirty years. This is music that is rich in color and tradition but doesn't really sound like much else that is being recorded or played now, changing tempo and time frequently and certainly challenging to play.

The opening "Passacaglia starts with horns leading into an ostinato played by guitarist Vic Juris and then a counter-line by saxophonist Tim Ries. The horns add to the counter-line, and then suddenly the melody changes gears, leading to an intense alto solo by Bruce Williamson. "Night Flight is driven by drummer Grisha Alexiev, and features some sinuous ensemble work and some smart, to-the-point solos from bassist Jay Anderson, trumpeter Shane Endsley and Ries. The haunting "Desire is tender but also forward-thinking and inventive. There's a lovely, eerie use of Juris' guitar, and almost immediately the tune moves into "Wind Over the Lake," much like "Night Flight in its exotic pulse and layered sections.

All of the players add to the total mix and never point fingers at themselves. With production by Julia Reinhart, this recording a lovely testament to a fine talent, with playing that is emotional as well as beautifully executed.

Track Listing: Passacaglia; Night Flight; Desire; Wind Over the Lake; Interlude 1; Strange Rife; Outside In; Ballad for T; Interlude 2; Interlude 3; It's Only a Dream; Tamalpais Night; Starlit Skylight; Night Flight (Reprise).

Personnel: Shane Endsley: trumpet; Bruce Williamson: alto and soprano saxophones; Tim Ries: tenor saxes: Vic Juris: guitar; Jay Anderson: bass; Grisha Alexiev: drums; Jim Ridl: piano.

Title: Jazz Cycles (The Music of Paul Nash) | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: MNMP Records

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