Derek Nash Acoustic Quartet: You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig?

Bruce Lindsay By

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You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig?: not just a groovy album title, but wise words of advice. Saxophonist and bandleader Derek Nash clearly takes this advice to heart, crafting an album that's filled with eminently dig-able music.

The advice that inspires Nash and his fellow players, as well as inspiring the album title and a tune of the same name, comes from Thelonious Monk. A few more of Monk's helpful hints—collected in 1960 by saxophonist Steve Lacy—adorn the album cover. "Don't play the piano part, I'm playing that" is a singularly useful tip for musicians without 88 keys to hand.

Nash's quartet is completed by a trio of top UK players: bassist Geoff Gascoyne and drummer Sebastian De Krom were both members of million-selling Jamie Cullum's band, pianist Dave Newton is a multiple winner of the British Jazz Award for piano. Trumpeter Martin Shaw—whose resume includes work with Sting and with Natalie Cole—guests on four numbers. Nash has the knack of producing wonderfully catchy melodies. "You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig?" is a great example at the up-tempo, swinging, end of the scale, Nash (on alto) and Shaw forming a top hard-bop horn duo—it almost cries out for a lyric, or at least a singer with a talent for vocalese. At the more relaxed end, "Swing Thing" is almost infuriatingly catchy, a real earworm of a tune. This time Shaw uses a muted trumpet and Nash a baritone sax: the contrasting sounds give the melody real depth, but the star of the tune is De Krom whose soft yet bouncy brushes are a delight to hear.

Writer credits don't rest solely with the leader. The album opens with the standard "Secret Love," which benefits from Newton's coolly swinging arrangement. "Time Lag," a subtle samba with Nash on soprano, was co-written by the saxophonist and his father, Pat. Gascoyne contributes two feelgood tunes—the fast tempo "Vertigo" and the New Orleans-y "Keep It To Yourself."

The bonus track, Duke Ellington's "Morning Glory," comes from the 2011 recording session that produced Joyriding (Jazzizit, 2011). Nash plays the melody on baritone, Newton comps in an understated and sympathetic fashion. It draws You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig? to a warm and graceful conclusion, taking another piece of Mr Monk's advice to heart—"Stop playing all those wierd (sic) notes, play the melody!"

Track Listing: Secret Love; Let Some Things Go By; You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig?; Time Lag; Swing Thing; Homecoming; Vertigo; I'm Getting Temperamental Over You; Winter Solstice; Keep It To Yourself; Morning Glory.

Personnel: Derek Nash: saxophones; David Newton: piano; Geoff Gascoyne: bass; Sebastiaan De Krom: drums; Martin Shaw: trumpet (3, 5, 8, 10).

Title: You've Got To Dig It To Dig It, You Dig? | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Jazzizit


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