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Portrait in Seven Shades: Ted Nash

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly announces the release of Portrait in Seven Shades, performed by the word-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and composed by JLCO reedman Ted Nash. Nash s suite consists of seven movements, each inspired by a master of modern art who worked in the century around the apex of jazz; Chagall, Dali, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Pollock and Van Gogh. The recording also features special guest musicians Nathalie Bonin (violin), Wycliffe Gordon (tuba), and Bill Schimmel (accordion). The writer Will Friedwald said Music is like painting in time, painting is like music in space. Portrait in Seven Shades illustrates this point masterfully.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 2, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • ASIN: B0030E5NHS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,500 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Ted Nash is at the top of his game here with seven exquisite compositions! They are edgy, inventive and at times, playful. From the romantic Spanish intro of Picasso, the klezmer influence found in Chagall, and the hauntingly beautiful ballad of Van Gogh; there is much here to invoke the imagination of the listener. Further, the exceptional quality of the musicianship on this CD speaks for itself: the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, is absolutely amazing and they all deliver spectacular performances on this recording. If you are a Ted Nash and JALC fan, this is an absolute must buy!
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As the package insert observes, musical artists and painters share a common lexicon, speaking of color and texture and shading. Classical composers have frequently wrote works in homage or under the influence of painters (* see below); jazz has rarely explored their fellow improvisers of form. This album, therefore, is a real treat.

The first-class musicians of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra ensure great, tight performances, and Ted Nash's writing and multilayered arrangements already have a solid reputation. The LCJO's voice, its sound and style, is recognizable as the listener views the depicted paintings of Monet, Dali, Matisse, Picasso, van Gogh, Chagall, and Pollock; then matches the feelings, the rhythms, and references as the music flows to each artist's development and culture. Matisse's bright sunshine of his landscapes are somehow perceived. In the Dali piece, arpeggio waves take us into Surrealism. Matisse's Dance is echoed with a playful jazz dance (how could it not!). Picasso's tranforming art from romantic Reds and Blues to cubist is portrayed, and we also hear that Spanish flamenco flavoring. More literarlly, a vocal is part of the impression of van Gogh's art and vision, and the shtetl village life of Chagall is made present by accordion, violin, and tuba. Pollock's art of a higher order within chaos, which came hand in hand with free jazz, closes the set through a ride of various jazz eras leading to a wild plethora of musical phrases and instruments. The entire conception is of Pulitzer (certainly Grammy) quality, and jazz lovers and artists both should bring this unusual album into their collection.

* As an artist myself, I am always curious how musical composers view paintings.
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By G. Ashby on March 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I just saw this piece performed live in Baton Rouge. Wow! Ted Nash is quite a talent, and it was nice to have him explain the different movements before the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed them. It was a try delight to hear what can be done with a big band orchestra. Nash stretches his colleagues, but they respond for what is a masterpiece!
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Graphic orchestrations, spectral improvisations and tactile compositions from a brilliant young jazz composer and musician. Ted Nash has picture-perfect pitch with tunes, tempos and timbres conceived visually and realized musically as if his pen, ink and staff paper were brush, paint and canvas. This set contains six perfections that evoke their painterly counterparts with insightful and colorful reflections in sound. Rarely will you hear a more moving set of pieces for large jazz ensemble. The musicians of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra are brilliant technicians AND sensitive interpreters of these complex yet simply touching arrangements. For example, the melodic improvisation of Joe Temperley's baritone sax is unforgettable. "Picasso" is a klezmer cookie with a double-thick, slow-blues center. But every piece is uniquely memorable. I urge you to experience these sonic gems with total focus wearing high quality headphones. The big band in your brain will bowl you over!
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