PAUL NASH BIO ------------------------ The music of composer and guitarist Paul Nash reflects a restless commitment to musical experimentation-integrating by turns the sound worlds of jazz, classical, and rock through his own personal synthesis. Nash's musical path began in the late 60's 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 study-earning 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. Nash's interest in classical forms has evolved alongside his work in jazz. Among the music groups that have performed Nash's chamber and orchestral pieces have been the St. Luke's 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 recordings-including 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 Lovers' 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 Nash's 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. PERSONNEL --------------- Tom Harrell - trumpet Alan Braufman - alto sax, soprano sax Gerard Carelli - trombone Paul Nash - seven string guitar, flute Michael Cochrane - piano Anthony Cox - bass Jimmy Madison - drums Gregory Yasinitsky - soprano sax on Intermission, tenor sax on Starlit Skylight Ann Yasinitsky - flute Michele Hendricks - voice Recorded in October 1984 and April 1985 at Titanic Recording Studios, NYC Engineer - Jimmy Madison Mastered at PolyGram, Tribiano - Milano Engineer - Gennaro Carone Producer - Paul Nash Executive Producer - Giovanni Bonandrini LINER NOTES ---------------- It is ironic, perhaps, that though over the years jazz has so much come to be identified as an improviser's art - that of an individual creating a solo statement according to the dictates of his/her own muse, confronting with a personal vision that delicate and often misunderstood balance between spontaneity and invention - recent developments are returning the music to the compositional foundations of it's origin. Too often we think of jazz solely as a lineage of great soloists, of which Louis Armstrong was both pioneer and role model, followed by such unique voices as Coleman Hawkins, Jack Teagarden, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and any number of others. In it's earliest days, however, the music was not a vehicle for heroic individual variations, but an ensemble concept arranged (whether by one man or committee) as a totality with all parts functioning to the benefit of the whole. Jelly Roll Morton inaugurated the preeminence of the composer in jazz and his progeny included such diverse and influential practitioners as Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, Roscoe Mitchell, etc. Paul Nash, by way of introduction, is one of those who are placing a renewed emphasis on composition in contemporary music. Like Anthony Braxton, Anthony David, David Murray, Henry Threadgill and others, he is helping to erase the dividing lines that separate various categories of music. However, he is unlike them in that he is not so much an experimentor as a consolidator, less an expressionist than an impressionist. Akin to the work George Russell was doing in the late '50s and early '60s with small groups, Nash displays a rigorous concern with ensemble textures and colors while attempting to integrate soloists INTO the composition. As he explains it, "I feel a big need to limit and structure the solo space in my music. If there are multiple (solo) choruses, I try to propel them ahead with varying background figures and such. In the future I'd like to have the soloists even more integrated into the fabric of the compositions, to get the soloists not just cranking out what they know, but really assimilate the material in order to better structure what's happening IN the solo." Nash is fortunate in this regard to have Tom Harrell and pianist Michael Cochrane as the featured soloists on SECOND IMPRESSIONS, as both are able to make telling statements without disrupting the unity and flow of the compositions. Nash's background helps to explain his reasoning, his studies at the Berklee College of Music, Mills College in San Francisco and the New England Concervatory were not as an instrumentalist but as a composer - though his guitar intros are important in setting the moods and distinguishing the tonal environments throughout the album. His catalog of works over the past 14 years is almost evenly divided between classical chamber pieces (later released on Musical Heritage Society) and jazz items (some previously heard on a 1979 Revelation recording). It's Nash's belief, though, that the gab between the two is not all that great. "More and more I'm trying to incorporate jazz influences into my concert pieces, with more lyric profile and polyrhythmic patterns that work pretty well for me in my jazz writing. And when I go to hear jazz I'm often dissatisfied with the intellectual content of the music, so I try to pack my jazz writing with something to listen to, something substantial in terms of sound anything like an academic exercise but as a living, breathing, flowing organism which takes on a life of it's own, utilizing the talents of the ensemble while allowing room for individual expression. SECOND IMPRESSION's most immediate gift is it's accessibility, for despite his accent on form and structure, Nash is a born melodicist. The album is filled with a pastoral sensitivity even at it's most aggressive, and part of this lyricism can be attributed to Nash's earlier influences. "Some people say my music sounds like late 60's early 70's jazz, and I must say my music is pretty profoundly influenced by that era. Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett are among the artist-composers I most admire. Yet while I like to employ extended chords in unusual ways and take great care in creating interesting rhythms, I rarely lose sight of the melodic element - whether in the lead line or supporting parts. So it's combining that melodicism with denser harmonies. Also, for this record, I kept the writing for the rhythm section to a minimum so they're largely doing what they know how to do best - SWING - and that helped this particular batch of tunes sound jazzier." As a composer, Paul Nash has no aesthetic soapbox to stand on. His music is carefully crafted, yet retains a playful aura that rejects aural difficulty for it's own sake. It could be described as neo-classical in that Nash doesn't reveal his emotion easily or exploit his structural conceits obviously, in fact, as a classicist the idea is not to make the listener aware of the structure - however rigorous and thoroughly developed it may be - but to allow the listener to enjoy the music as a whole and experience the form only intuitively. Further, Nash has a classicist's sense of proportion, nothing is stretched past it's expressive limits, solos are not ego romps but rather serve the demands of creating and releasing compositional tension. Finally, there's the variety of sounds and colors that gives SECOND IMPRESSION much of it's kick. From the bossa-buoyancy of "Intermission" to the introspective music of "After Words", from Muchele Hendricks' roller coaster vocal on "Passing Glance" to the Blue Note drive of "Song for Lanie", SECOND IMPRESSION is sure to make a favorable impression. - Art Lande.