308

Ted Nash Double Quartet: Rhyme & Reason

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Ted Nash Double Quartet: Rhyme & Reason 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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Rotterdam 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Rotterdam 1969
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Tyran Grillo
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Waller" CD/LP/Track Review Waller
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 14, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.