MP3 Manhattan New Music Project - Mood Swing
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14 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Modern Creative Jazz, JAZZ: Contemporary Jazz
Show all album songs: Mood Swing Songs
ON PAUL NASH
The music of composer and guitarist Paul Nash reflects a restless commitment to musical experimentationâintegrating by turns the sound worlds of jazz, classical, and rock through his own personal synthesis. Nashâs musical path began in the late 60âs when his Bronx teenage rock band opened for the Blues Project and followed a then unknown Jimi Hendrix at the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. This was followed by years of music studyâearning respectively B.M. and M.A. degrees in music composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1972 and Mills College in Oakland (CA) in 1976.
San Francisco provided a fruitful outlet for his passion for larger jazz aggregations. In 1977, the ten-piece Paul Nash Ensemble, which featured saxophonist Noel Jewkes, drummer Eddie Marshall and trumpeter Mark Isham, began performances around the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. Later, Nash became instrumental in the creation of the Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra (BAJCO), a new type of jazz orchestra that included a string quartet founded in 1987. Upon his return to New York City, Mr. Nash expanded on that same instrumental model by establishing the Manhattan New Music Project in 1990.
Nashâs interest in classical forms has evolved alongside his work in jazz. Among the music groups that have performed Nashâs chamber and orchestral pieces have been the St. Lukeâs Chamber Ensemble, the Aspen Music Festival, the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco, the San Francisco Symphony, the Reading Symphony Orchestra (PA) and Ridgefield (CT) Symphonies is scheduled in 2002. Musical Elements, and Composers Concordance and Eclectix.
As a leader, Nash has produced five impressive recordingsâincluding three for Soul Note Records (Italy), which have featured jazz artists such as Tom Harrell, Jack Walrath, Tom Varner, David Samuels, Mark Isham, and Art Lande. Paul Nash: A Jazz Composers Ensemble (1979), Second Impression (1985), Night Language (1987), Mood Swing (1993) and Soul of Grace (2000). His jazz writing suggests somewhat contradictory influences, most notably the cool orchestration of Gil Evans and the fiery proclamations of Charles Mingus. Projects slated for publication in print include Fingerstyle Jazz Workbook (Mel Bay Music) and Jazz Duos for alto sax and piano (Advance Music).
An accomplished guitarist, Mr. Nash's musical thinking is also distinguished by his adoption of system of a symmetrical tuning in fourths as well as his use of custom designed acoustic and electric seven string guitars.
In 1997 Nash began a new musical direction with the creation of site-specific musical work, culminating in a series of nine special performances in New York City parks. His Still Sounds Run Deep deploys musicians around public spaces and provides for interactivity with ambient sounds and the rhythms of passersby. Another long standing goal was realized in the his hour long theater creation, Intimate Structures, fashioning a dialogue adapted from Loversâ Discourse by the late French philosopher Roland Barthes, and supporting it with an hour of continuous music blending baroque, modern jazz and ambient sounds.
Grants and fellowships have served as a vital support for Nashâs work, coming from sources such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Jerome Foundation, the Banff Center for the Arts, Yaddo, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of California at Berkeley, the MacDowell Colony, and the Djerassi Foundation. Finally, Nash has been an arts advocate as well, serving as a nationally elected Board Member of the American Composers Alliance.
Jack Walrath â trumpet & flugelhorn
Tom Varner â French horn
David Taylor â bass trombone & tuba
Bruce Williamson â alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute
Chuck Clark â soprano sax, alto sax, flute
Tim Ries â baritone sax
Jon Kass â violin
John Ladd â viola
Neal Kirkwood â piano
Paul Nash â electric & acoustic guitars
Jeffrey Carney â bass
Jamey Haddad â drums & hand percussion
Recorded at M&I Studios New York City September 3-4 1992.
Jon Rosenberg â Sound engineer
Paul Nash â producer
Giovanni Bonandrini â executive producer
ABOUT THE RECORDING
Beginning with the horn fanfare of âVampâs Danceâ with its ear enchanting shift of rhythmic accents, subtle realignment of rhythmic values and rhythmic lift and kick, MOOD SWING, the debut recording by the Manhattan New Music Project, presents jazz as itâs become at the end of its first American century. Jazz is now knowledgeable, even reverent toward the hallowed tradition â but also open to any new ideas and influences that can be absorbed and projected by its most ardently intelligent proponents. Jazz, always a ânew musicâ, now reaches for and achieves an ever broader frame of reference, and delivers through virtuosic ensemble play, greater compositional focus and perhaps more specific musical intent.
From the ascetic detail of the inside-the-piano and acoustic guitar introduction to âThe Queen of Dinâs New Religionâ through its unfurling of luscious themes, Neal Kirkwoods interwoven piano filigree and provocative choruses, a golden French horn solo by Tom Varner, and unusual threnody of soprano sax, violin and viola, the Manhattan New Music Project introduces a jazz orchestra sound based on kaleidoscopic change and multi-faceted collage.
Several like-minded individualists co-founded the Manhattan New Music Project to explore the frontiers of a landscape where suited by Ellington, Mingus, Miles Davisâs Borth of the Cool circle and Carla Bley share borders with Stravinsky, George Crumb, the American minimalists and John Cage. Guitarist/composer Paul Nash and reedist Chuck Clark, both involved in the 18 piece collaborative Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra during 1988 relocated to New York at the end of that year. After a year of meeting over coffee and debating the pros and cons of collectivized music making, they proceeded to establish a similar group on the East Coast. They were soon joined in the enterprise by pianist Neal Kirkwood, bass trombone specialist David Taylor (well known in both new music and progressive jazz camps), and eventually trumpeter Jack Walrath (replacing Tom Harrell) and French horn player Tom Varner.
âThis is a cooperative. The composers writing for the group share something of a collective aestheticâ, says Nash, whose many credits include âWind Over The Lakeâ (1989) a three movement work for orchestra and jazz quartet that was performed by the San Francisco Chamber Symphony with saxophonist Paul McCandless, âNight Languageâ a 1987 album of chamber compositions released on Musical Heritage Society, and âSecond Impressionsâ (available on CDBaby), his 1985 Soul Note debut which features smaller combinations than convene on MOOD SWING. He adds, âIâm an idealist, in that unexpectedly beautiful things can happen when musicians collaborate together.â
MOOD SWING proves such idealism is not misplaced. The entire production, more than 70 minutes in length, is a treasure trove of beautiful sonic âthingsâ â and their attractions lie not on glittery surfaces, but in depths that reward attentive, repeated listening and leisurely appreciation.
What may at first seem an introspective or dark cast to this album is soon revealed to be a myriad of moods through which the musicians gently swing. Thereâs the cartoonish Western lope of âHoppy Daze are Here Againâ, written by Taylor (as is âVampâs Danceâ). Jack Walrath contributed the old world nostalgia and gorgeous resolution of âDepressions of Eastern Europeâ, the skewed jokeyness in âZordott and Gortâ and the concentrated spaceyness derived from chance operations in âJohn Cageâ. Punctilious concision frames Tom Varnerâs âShovel Manâ, written just for this record. Kirkwoodâs âLean and Hungry Lookâ unites the extreme highs and lows of MNMPâs instrumentation in undulating melody. Nash evokes a woozy Weimar Republic cabaret air of âGraduation March of the Crash Test Dummiesâ; the haunted presence of âShadowâ and the up-as well as down turn in âMood Swingâ, his title track.
Underlying all these pieces is a complex but coherent aesthetic. âThese pieces reflect a contemporary feeling thatâs less from jazzâs swing tradition than from the newer wave of players who relate more to whatâs edgy and unpredictableâ, explains Nash, who sheparded MOOD SWING from conception to realization.
âIâve always wanted to go as much in the new music direction as in the direction of jazz. My own tendency as a composer is to move away from continuity and towards change, medleys and collage of styles, although that goes against the flow of what jazz musicians know how to do best.â
âMy pieces dart in and out of ânew musicâ and other traditions, including classical music and East Indian music. âSynchronicityâ adopts ideas from Stravinsky. âShadowâ touches on the sound world of George Crumbâs Marcokosmos (through Nealâs spontaneous interpretation â those atmospheric clusters â helped to exceed my expectations.)
âThereâs a touch of Steve Reich and Philip Glass in some of my pieces, too. âSynchronicityâ and âQueen of Dinâ have sustained rhythmic patterns; I like to float jazz ideas across the top of what are essentially minimalist forms. âSynchronicityâ, which is a major step for me, features moments where musical ideas occur simultaneously but in independent tempos, such as the horn chorale heard over the string ostinato. It may not be easy to grasp because it goes to many places â big band writing, a Coplanesque chorale, and a classical string quartet â but it is unified by the repeating of sections at beginning and end and the reappearance of a number of themes â¦ These tendencies of mine are balanced by Walrath, Kirkwood and Clark, who are more solidly into rhythmic continuity and clear harmonic progrssions.â
That all the composers on this recording find common, coherent cause â that all the distinct identities of their compositions blur as one listens to MOOD SWING as a whole â distinguishes MNMP from other US and European ensembles creating orchestral new music/jazz. And thatâs not to slight the projectâs distinctive, enthusiastic improvisers, or even separate them from the composers â Kirkwood, Walrath, Taylor and Varner shine in their solos (Nash makes figures and fills, but avails himself of no spontaneous extended musical break). Bruce Williamson roars on alto in âDepressionsâ and the 11 man ensemble justifies the neo-Dixieland chorus it takes in the middle. Chuck Clark blows tenor in a Coltrane-cum-flamenco ballad mode on his modernist transformation of âI Didnât Know What Time It Wasâ. Baritone saxophonist Tim Ries makes a significant contribution in Taylorâs âVampâs Dance IIâ.
The players in the background are equally superb; bassist Jeffrey Carney and drummer/percussionist Jamey Haddad are sensitive and flexible throughout (note the latterâs hand percussion display on âLean and Hungryâ); violinist Jon Kass and violist John Ladd spice in a variety of autonomous ways; trumpet lead Ron Tooly and cellist Mary Wooten fill out the fuller instrumentation of âSynchronicityâ with aplomb.
âWhen I decided to call this album MOOD SWING, there was a risk that some people would think they were going to hear conventional jazzâ, Nash allows. But this is a jazz record. There are places where the musicians and composers thrust their personalities at you. Itâs not about prettiness, itâs raw. You feel the edge of improvisation happen. Those are jazz values.â
Jazz brings those values to new music, just as new music offers fresh possibilities to jazz. It took composers and improvisers who operate in both genres and are able to transcend genres completely - like these of the Manhattan New Music Project â to create the wealth and breadth of musical feeling that connects one end to the other of MOOD SWING.
- Howard Mandel
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