Guitarist/composer Paul Nash is the artistic director for the band he organized back in 1990 known as “The Manhattan New Music Project”. Here, Nash directs an aggregate of jazz luminaries such as trumpeter Jack Walrath, french hornist/composer Tom Varner, bass trombonist David Taylor and others for a thoroughly impressive project titled, The Soul Of Grace. Throughout this rather jubilant large ensemble affair, Nash shines as a strong composer/arranger while exhibiting finely honed skills as a guitarist who makes every note ring loud and clear in pronounced fashion.
Nash’ horn arrangement on “The Phoenix” meshes disparate tonal colors with climactic acceleration thanks to his shrewd and rhythmically inclined guitar performance as he rapidly strums jazz/funk chord progressions to instill a burgeoning sense of movement. The band turns in forceful and somewhat punchy choruses on the “The Wheel” steered by Nash’ sharply stated lead lines integrated with an abundance of melody and a gleaming trumpet solo by Jack Walrath. “Recursivephonic” features Mingus-like overtones while “Passacaglia” contains authoritative horns, shifting themes, sonorous passages and sturdy backbeats along with expressive soloing by the leader who effectively utilizes a tinge of digital EFX as a tool and not as a showcase for bravado.
The embodiment of Nash’ compositions revolve around sinewy yet flexible rhythmic underpinnings, stately themes, well-organized group interplay and ample room for the soloists to breath. Basically, “The Manhattan New Music Project” is a first fate outfit as Nash and co. obviously put quite a bit of effort and thought into these altogether standout arrangements. - The Soul Of Grace is an artistic success as the music reaches out and grabs you in the proverbial sense. Highly recommended! ..... * * * * *
Paul Nash; Guitar, Composer & Arranger: Jack Walrath; Trumpet: Bruce Williamson; Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet & Flute: Avram feffer; Tenor & Soprano Saxophone: David Taylor; Bass Trombone: Neal Kirkwood; Piano: Andy McKee; Acoustic Bass (selected tracks): Jeff Carney; Acoustic & Electric Bass (selected tracks): Grisha Alexiev; Drums.
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