Despite releasing seven albums with his jazz/funk/fusion bands Sax Appeal and Protect The Beat, and a previous solo album, Setting New Standards
(Jazzizit, 2000), British saxophonist Derek Nash remains something of an unsung hero. He has, perhaps, been engaged in such a diversity of projectsplaying with pianist Jools Holland
's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, running his Clowns Pocket Studio, and helping manage the Jazzizit label with singer Trudy Kerr
that he doesn't have the time or single-minded focus to work on his own profile.
Nash is also an A-list session man whose in concert credits include guitarist Eric Clapton, singers Jamie Cullum, Bob Dorough and Mavis Staples, and saxophonists Bobby Wellins and Branford Marsalis. On top of all this, he's a busy recording engineer (awarded a gold disc for his work on Cullum's 2003 Candid album, Pointless Nostalgic).
Snapshot is, indirectly, a product of Nash's engineering work. Finding himself in early 2007 with an unexpected free afternoon at Clowns Pocket, where he was engineering a Trudy Kerr album, with a band that was already warmed up he pulled out some charts that he uses on his "guest with the house band" gigs, and recorded these nine tunes. Three hours later Snapshot was completed.
It's a warm and amiable album, featuring a string of fine solos from Nashwho plays tenor, alto, soprano and baritoneand pianist Jan Lundgren with sterling support from bassist Geoff Gascoyne and drummer Steve Brown. And while it may not travel to many unexpected places, it's a lively and engaging ride. There are covers of Hank Mobley's "Soul Station," Pat Metheny's "Farmer's Trust" and Grover Washington Jr.'s "Winelight" and the standards "Falling In Love With Love" (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart), "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" (Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke) and "I'm Glad There Is You" (Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madeira). Neil Hefti's "Li'l Darlin'" is given a hard swinging workout, Gerry Mulligan's "Five Brothers" is heard in an attractive arrangement by Dave Grusin, and there's the little known Duke Ellington tune "My Love," from the Sacred Concerts series.
Seamless as the set is, the highlights are probably "Soul Station," which Nash approaches with a breezy, rough hewn energy more reminiscent of Louis Jordan than its composer, and "My Love," given tender handling on soprano. An album to kick back with and enjoy on its own, unpretentious terms.
Soul Station; Winelight; Farmer's Trust; Falling In Love With Love; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Li'l Darlin'; My Love; Five Brothers; I'm Glad There Is You.
Derek Nash: tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophones; Jan Lundgren: piano; Geoff Gascoyne: bass; Steve Brown: drums.