Portrait In Seven Shades (Jazz At Lincoln Center)

Jazz At Lincoln Center

Released February 2, 2010

Grammy Nominee for Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals 2011





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.

Track Listing:

1. Monet (Ted Nash) featuring: Victor Goines, soprano sax; Ted Nash, alto flute 6:41

2. Dali (Ted Nash) featuring: Marcus Printup, Trumpet; Ted Nash, alto sax; Ali Jackson, drums 6:16

3. Matisse (Ted Nash) featuring: Dan Nimmer, Piano; Joe Temperley, baritone sax; Carlos Henriquez, bass 7:18

4. Picasso (Ted Nash) featuring: Vincent Gardner, trombone; Wynton Marsalis, Trumpet 8:38

5. Van Gogh (Ted Nash) featuring: Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Vincent Gardner, vocal 6:52

(Wynton Marsalis Grammy Nominee for Best Improvised Jazz Solo 2011)

6. Chagall (Ted Nash) featuring: Bill Schimmel, accordion; Nathalie Bonin, violin 8:08

7. Pollock (Ted Nash) featuring: Sherman Irby, alto sax; Chris Crenshaw and Elliot Mason, trombones; Bill Schimmel, accordion; Ryan Kisor, trumpet 10:27


Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Trumpets: Wynton Marsalis, Ryan Kisor, Sean Jones, Marcus Printup

Trombones: Elliot Mason, Chris Crenshaw, Vincent Gardner;

Reeds: Walter Blanding, Victor Goines, Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Joe Temperley

Piano: Dan Nimmer

Bass: Carlos Henriquez

Drums: Ali Jackson

Guests: Nathalie Bonin (violin); Wycliffe Gordon (tuba); Bill Schimmel (accordion)

Music director and saxophone: Ted Nash

Recorded September 6, 2007, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, NY


The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) is often derided as a bastion of conservatism, although it’s not clear what is conservative about an epic like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’ Congo Square (Blue Note, 2007), with its volleys of Ghanaian percussion and ensemble-singing in the Ga and Fante dialects. For that matter, the JLCO accommodates boundary-pushing musicians like Ted Nash, who holds a multi-woodwinds chair while still doing offbeat work with the likes of bassist Ben Allison and pianist Frank Kimbrough—not to mention his own groups, including Odeon and Still Evolved. 

Portrait in Seven Shades is Nash’s entry as an JLCO resident composer and the focus here is avowedly European (a stark contrast with Congo Square‘s Africa via New Orleans). Each of the seven movements takes inspiration not only from a particular painter, but also from a set of specific canvases in that artist’s oeuvre, as explained in the CD booklet. The orchestration points to Duke Ellington and Gil Evans in roughly equal measure, although hard-bitten blues vocabulary plays an overt role, most notably in Dan Nimmer’s swinging piano trio setup on “Matisse.” Perhaps most striking is the unsettled 13/8 meter and smeary high-register brass of “Dali,” which apportions solo space between trumpeter Marcus Printup, drummer Ali Jackson and Nash on alto saxophone. 

JLCO head and star trumpeter Wynton Marsalis follows trombonist Vincent Gardner with a fiery statement on the multi-sectioned, cubist-inspired “Picasso.” Gardner returns for a romantic, Johnny Hartman-esque vocal feature—something altogether new in Nash’s writing—on the ballad “Van Gogh,” again offset by Marsalis as the featured horn. Later, jittery swing and tumbling swirls of eighth notes set the stage for the closing “Pollock.” Only “Chagall,” with accordionist Bill Schimmel, violinist Nathalie Bonin and tubaist Wycliffe Gordon articulating Jewish/Eastern European themes, seems a bit strained and obvious in trying to connect sound and subject matter. The other movements leave more to the imagination. Listeners are free to read Nash’s lucid explanations in the notes or simply let the music connect the dots.

David Adler (All About Jazz)