You've Got to Dig It to Dig It, You Dig?

Nash is a live-wire musician, game to play in a variety of ways and in a multiplicity of situations.  He performs on all the reeds shown and, of course, has a secondary career as a recording engineer and studio operator.  His most prominent connection is with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and he often appears in fusion contexts; here, though, he's opted for a straight-ahead acoustic setting.  Shaw appears on a number of tracks; otherwse it's a quartet affair with Nash working his way through his mini-arsenal of instruments in a programme that contrasts his and Gascoyne's originals with a couple of decent standards.  Newton's stop-time chords open "Secret Love" with Nash stating the theme, before the tempo builds and he comes in, assertive on alto, Woods-like you could say, flying over the rhythm section's vibrant swing, Newton cleverly aware.  Nash's own "Let Some Things Go By" follows in ballad mode, the alto tone softer, the theme nicely harmonised, poignant too, Gascoyne's note placements perfect, as Newton explores, each phrase like a tiny gem.  The title tack, with the excellent Shaw, is funkier, hip and Silver-like, Nash in Sanborn mode.  I liked him better on soprano with his "Time Lag" (co-composed with his dad) it's perky theme taken as a samba, this ahead of his stirring baritone on "Swing Thing" with de Krom's brushes front and centre.  Newton excels on "Homecoming" in waltz-time, taken slow, Nash plaintive on soprano, delicate yet centred.  Esch of the 11 tracks withstand close examination on this album, his most rewarding to have come way.  On this evidence, Nash's jazz chops are in very good order, as are his compositional skills.  He also clearly knows how to choose the right companions.  Peter Vacher - Jazzwise

Albums mentioned in this review: