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Ted Nash Big Band: Chakra

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Ted Nash knows his way around big bands. The son and nephew of working musicians, before he had exited his teens Nash had already played regular gigs with large ensembles led by Quincy Jones, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Don Ellis and Gerry Mulligan. In his 20s he was a member of and arranger for the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. After establishing himself with a string of stirring original small-group recordings for Arabesque and Palmetto, Nash became a principal arranger and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under Wynton Marsalis, a position he still holds. His Grammy-nominated project for that band, Portrait in Seven Shades, was his stunning interpretation of seven classic artworks by the likes of Van Gogh, Matisse and Chagall.

Chakra is another high-concept, seven-movement opus, this time for a handpicked 17-piece band. Each movement is inspired by one of the seven energy centers in the human body, which are known in Tantric and Yogic study as “chakras.” A lover of film and television scores as well as symphonic works and big-band jazz, Nash turns what could have been an esoteric, new-agey affair into music that swings and pops with tension and release as much as it beguiles.

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