|The Shooting Star
The Jump Start
Coming from a musical family, Ted Nash was influenced at an early age to explore the possibilities of music by challenging its structure and its supposed boundaries. It’s no surprise, therefore, that in his unique career, he’s always sought to incorporate sounds from around the world into his solid jazz foundation. His compositions and recordings regularly involve sounds harking to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. While his critically acclaimed Sidewalk Meeting featured everything from klezmer to tango, on his Palmetto Records debut, Nash returns to the basics he loves – fast, swinging, fierce, straight-ahead, classic jazz. And by naming this recording, Still Evolved (May 27, 2003), he cleverly reminds us that straight-ahead jazz is always evolving, as is he.
Still Evolved features the rhythm section of Matt Wilson on drums, Ben Allison on bass and Frank Kimbrough on piano. Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Printup, both colleagues of his in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, join the band for four tunes each. Kimbrough, Allison and Wilson play with Nash often in his role as a Jazz Composers Collective collaborator.
The compositions Nash wrote for Still Evolved all note moments or special memories of his life. The opener, "Shooting Star," was inspired when Nash saw one from his Manhattan apartment on evening, and it helped him to make an important decision. The tune immediately draws the listener in through its sliding modal horn chorus, led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Nash’s other Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra colleague, Marcus Printup, takes up trumpet on the next tune, "Jump Start," which is dedicated to Nash’s old Volvo station wagon.
Marsalis steps back in on the title track and helps Nash illustrate his belief that something that’s evolving is never still; it’s always changing, just like his music. The next two tunes conjure the idea of traveling as "Bells of Brescia" was inspired by a beautiful church Nash saw in Italy, and "Ida’s Spoons" represents the passion a family member has for collecting spoons from every state. Nash pays homage to his Palmetto label mate, the great pianist Andrew Hill, with the next number, "Point of Arrival", named after Hill’s 1960’s Blue Note recording, Point of Departure, one of Nash’s all-time favorites. Nash then pays homage to himself with "The Competitor", one of the key factors in true evolution! He closes out the disc with "Rubber Soul," an elastic tune that features the melody sliding in and out over the groove, sustained so strongly by Kimbrough, Allison and Wilson.
Through his innovative and introspective work, Ted Nash is steadily building acclaim for himself as a leader in addition to his reputation as a star sideman for such artists as Marsalis and Mel Lewis. More importantly, it’s clear he is evolving by competing only against himself.