All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Ted Nash Double Quartet: Rhyme & Reason

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Rhyme and Reason seems strikingly serious. Even the combination of reed player Ted Nash's quartet, featuring pianist Frank Kimbrough and bassist Ben Allison, with a string quartet signals a certain seriousness.

But reading Nash's notes reveals the disc's inspiration is the naturally creative marvel of children, specifically his own daughters. With this, Nash has attempted to capture the spontaneous joy and interplay of children within this potentially unwieldy octet, augmented brilliantly by Nash's current boss, Wynton Marsalis ("Apollo 9," and "Sisters"), and vibisit Erik Charlston ("Rhyme," "Longing"). Rhyme and Reason is the successful result.

This is an accomplished musical statement and a most pleasurable listening experience: a serious joy. As one might watch a rose unfold, Nash explores a variety of textures that deepen upon repeated listens.

It is, perhaps, best thought of as a composer's showcase. As such, it is a marvel. But Nash himself invests in it a confident, very appealing tenor sound that reflects rather than mimics the tone and temperament of Joe Henderson. He's not leading here, but just playing with the other kids. As with a child's painting or drawing, Nash attempts to ignore what he's learned and what he knows to play naturally. Quite a feat...and the true spirit of jazz.

Of course, the idea of a string quartet interacting with a jazz quartet is not new. And to these ears, it is a combination that works especially well - when done right as Nash has done. He never gets pretentious. There's little obvious attempt to be "third stream" and absolutely no embarrassing climbs to classical heights. Nash and company swing, making it easy to dig into "Apollo 9," "Spirit Dance," "Sisters" and "Ishtar Gate." True to his word, Nash has captured a playful energy that his group seems to relish.

As subtly interwoven as the string parts are, too, the string players know how to get down and improvise with creative aplomb too. Miri Ben-Ari, in particular, is positively electrifying in spotlights on "Apollo 9" and "Sisters. " The most unusual track here, though, is perhaps the most arresting, the Asisatic "The Trails," where Nash's flute engages with the string quartet in a hauntingly beautiful performance.

The problem with whatever jazz has become in the 1990s, is that it too often aspires either to nothing (revisiting trends and styles past) or struggles unsuccessfully toward more than it can achieve. Ted Nash strives for something meaningful on Rhyme and Reason. Unlike other proclaimed and long-forgotten jazz events over the last few decades, Ted Nash has achieved something remarkable and lasting - just as the decade comes to an end.

Tracks:Apollo 9; Rhyme; Spirit Dance; Longing; Free Choice; Sisters; Prana; Ishtar Gate; The Trails.

Players:Ted Nash: tenor sax, clarinet, alto flute; Frank Kimbrough: piano; Ben Allison: bass; Tim horner: drums; Joyce Hammann, Miri Ben-Ari: violin; Ron Lawrence: viola; Tomas Ulrich: cello; Erik Charlston: vibes and percussion; Wynton Marsalis: trumpet.

Title: Rhyme & Reason | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
New York Beat
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)

Presidential Suite...

Motema Music



Plastic Sax Records



Plastic Sax Records

The Creep

The Creep

Plastic Sax Records

The Mancini Project

The Mancini Project

Palmetto Records


Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Songbook Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Volume 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Garden(s)" CD/LP/Track Review Garden(s)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren" CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Scarlett Roses" CD/LP/Track Review Scarlett Roses
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "All Soundings Are True" CD/LP/Track Review All Soundings Are True
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2017