Pin It

CD Review: Manhattan New Music Project 

click to enlarge MNMP Records, 2007
  • MNMP Records, 2007
When Bronx-born jazz composer Paul Nash was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in 2003, he handled the news far better than most of us would have. “My life has been given sudden definition,” he wrote, “an end point that I can almost prepare for. At once frightening and magnificent.” Resolved to document the essential works of his 30-year career before he departed, Nash wasted no time in booking studio time with the Manhattan New Music Project, a collective featuring guitar avatar Vic Juris and New Paltz bassist Jay Anderson that Nash formed in 1990 to play his music. Jazz Cycles is the first of the two CDs of material that resulted from the urgent sessions.

What’s immediately striking about Nash’s work is how huge it sounds. Here the MNMP is merely a septet, but the leader’s classical-meets-jazz vision somehow yields a massive, inversely proportioned sound, one that recalls the much larger modern big bands of Gil Evans and Don Ellis. On “Night Flight,” Nash’s trademark widescreen flair comes through loud and clear via Grisha Alexiev’s cavernous drums and the high-drama section work of trumpeter Shane Endsley and reedsmen Tim Reis and Bruce Williamson. Darker drama ensues on “Strange Rife” thanks to Anderson’s low-down, slinky lines and the strangled screams of Juris and the brass.

Nash passed away in 2005, but with the music here he leaves one of jazz’s most riveting legacies. An epitaph writ large, as it were.

The Manhattan New Music Project will perform at Iridium in Manhattan on October 17.

Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The Way Home: Yungchen Lhamo

    Peter Aaron writes about the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo.
    • Feb 1, 2016
  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Beacon Second Saturday @ Downtown Beacon

Beacon Second Saturday

Second Saturday of every month — The BAUsters have something special this month - the celebration of...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Peter Aaron

Hudson Valley Tweets