Jazz CD Reviews

Ted Nash, reeds – The Mancini Project – Palmetto Records

A jazz quartet tribute to the music of Henry Mancini

Published on July 30, 2008

Ted Nash, reeds – The Mancini Project – Palmetto Records
Ted Nash, reeds – The Mancini Project – Palmetto Records PM 2134, 60 min. ****:

Saxophonist Ted Nash is also a composer, arranger, conductor and educator.  He is associated with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Composers Collective.  His first Palmetto CD was selected by The New York among their Top 10 of the Year.

Nash grew up in LA in the 60s and 70s and was very familiar with all the great music that came out of the movie industry – most of all that of Henry Mancini. Both Ted’s father and uncle were prominent studio musicians and were present on nearly every Mancini project. His reeds teacher also played with Mancini, and all three of them appeared on a weekly local TV show, “The Mancini Generation.”

Nash reveals that the new CD was something of a departure from his usual approach as the composer of the music to be featured.  He wanted to celebrate Mancini’s great diversity as a composer.  Surely the jazz flavor of so much of his music to begin with made the effort a lot easier.  The instrumentation is evidently that of a quartet, but in the provided notes Nash only identifies “Frank, Rufus and Matt” in  “joining me in reinterpreting the music.” So that’s all I can tell you re: his sidemen.

Most of the 14 tracks are naturally from Mancini film and TV scores. Peter Gunn, The Night Visitor, Blind Date, The Pink Panther, Mr. Lucky, Sunset, Soldier in the Rain, The Party, Two for the Road, Experiment in Terror, and Hatari are some of them. One of the two themes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the unexpected music for Mr. Yunioshi – the very politically incorrect Mickey Rooney portrayal of Holly’s Japanese neighbor.  Didn’t want to be reminded of that awful faux pas, but four stars anyway to Nash for avoiding “Moon River”… Mancini himself started out on bass flute and used it effectively in some of his music, so Nash inserts his alto flute on a couple tracks, including a Mancini tune written for his father in one of the films.  Altogether a most enjoyable theme idea for a quartet album!

TrackList: Theme from Night Visitor, Dreamsville, Something for Nash, Shot in the Dark, Lujon, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cheryl’s Theme, Mr. Yunioshi, Soldier in the Rain, The Party, A Quiet Happening, Two for the Road, Experiment in Terror, Baby Elephant Walk.

 – John Henry

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