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Ted Nash: The Mancini Project

If you ever wondered what the John Coltrane Quartet of the Impulse! years might have sounded like on the compositions of Henry Mancini-or your face is contorted in horror at the thought-this new release offers more than a couple of hints. It’s on tenor rather than soprano sax that Ted Nash sounds like Trane, and the confluence on Mancini’s “Theme from the Night Visitor” and “Experiment in Terror” is particularly potent. When the tempo slows on “Dreamsville,” “Cheryl’s Theme” and “Lujon,” we’re hearing the simple eloquence and passion of JCQ’s Ballads even when Nash has switched to alto.

This project is personal for Nash, whose father, uncle, and teacher were all part of the ensemble featured on The Mancini Generation TV show. Besides three saxes-tenor, alto, and soprano-Nash is firing off an alto flute on “Something for Nash” (originally written for Nash’s dad, Dick) and “Soldier in the Rain.” Briefly, he’s even tootling on piccolo in “Baby Elephant Walk,” the final track. Other than the pachyderm, we get glimpses of “A Shot in the Dark,” “Mr. Yunioshi” and “A Quiet Happening.”

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