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Ted Nash & Still Evolved: In the Loop

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Among the ranks of musicians to be called “rising stars” in the past few years, saxophonist Ted Nash may have a leg up thanks to his affiliation with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. (He also has over two decades of experience, making the designation questionable, but that’s another story.) If that gets more ears turned onto In the Loop, then it can only be a good thing. These nine original pieces have a straightforward approach, to which Nash adds some harmonic concepts that exude a unique combination of warmth and intrigue.

With Marcus Printup (trumpet), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ben Allison (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums) rounding out Still Evolved, Nash’s tenor has a support system able to follow the varied paths of the music. “Gritty Ditty” starts with an uptempo suspended melody that shifts into a slow walking line for Printup’s and Nash’s solos. Kimbrough’s solo straddles free meter and boogie. Both horns start in unison on “The Cubist” reaching into the upper registers for shrill but strong notes. The 10-minute “Durning’s Dance” also features multiple sections, including a clever false ending right at the middle point.

Some of In the Loop was originally commissioned for a dance company, which makes sense as the musical interplay lends itself to visual imagery.