While No Boundaries is technically led by pianist Dave Bass, it seems that the company is kind of burying the lead. The real headliner here is the multi talented Ted Nash.
Nash certainly has a jazz pedigree, with both a father and an uncle who were top notch performers themselves. Nash has also been a frequent member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis.
The back story on Bass is that he was a pianist in his youth, left the music field for a career in law, and is now making a comeback. He is a very competent pianist and, apparently, prolific composerhe wrote eight of the thirteen tunes on this album. His solos are pleasant and his support of Nash tasty and thoughtful. But it is Nash that grabs the spotlight every time except for the final tuneBud Powell's "Hallucinations"which is a trio number.
Nash is whimsical on Lennie Tristano's classic "Lennie's Pennies," sticking mostly to his warm middle-register. He switches to alto for a bluesy foray on "Spy Movie End Credits," and becomes irresistibly edgy on "Agenbite of Inwit" with a touch of Eric Dolphy buried within his smooth almost Desmond-like tone. He is absolutely haunting behind vocalist Karrin Allyson on Roger's and Hammerstein's "If I Loved You." He is passionately Latin on soprano on the classic "Siboney." His personality becomes more raucous when he switches to tenor on "Neither Have I Wings." He displays his more introverted side, sticking largely to the middle register when he picks up the clarinet on "Danzon #1," and he offers a Middle Eastern feel on "In The Rain." "Swing Theory" is one of the more adventurous pieces harmonically, and Nash takes full advantage of the freedom in his flute solo.
Bass' compositions do have some interesting twists and turns, but never rise to the level of a jazz standard. His playing is careful, pleasantly comforting, but without much of a dynamic range. Vocalist Karrin Allyson, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Jerome Jennings as well as an array of percussionists put in consistent and professional outings.
With the exception of Nash, there are no surprises or outstanding moments. Nevertheless, this is a pleasant and thoughtful album, worth several listens.
Lennie's Pennies; Spy Movie End Credits; Agenbite of Inwit; If I Loved You; La Mulata Rumbera; Tango Adaglo; Time of My Life; Siboney; Neither Have I Wings; Danzon #1; Swing Theory; In The Rain; Hallucinations.
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