Jazz music doesn't always need to strive to be thrusting, original and adventurous to be successful. The latest offering from saxophonist Derek Nash is a perfect case in point.
Known for his work with the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and for leading his own jazz-funk band Proect the Beat, Nash here presents another aspect of his msuical personaility, taking his cue from music that was a formative influence. He has co-composed tunes with his father, the noted aranger Pat Nash before, and together they created the album Setting New Standards. That was more than 10 years ago and so a reunion was long overdue.
The feel of this current album is unashamedly "retro". The CD cover art immediately brings to mind a great Blue Note recording by Stanley Turretine from 1965 called Joyride and many of the original compositions have the feel of that bygone era.
The title track is reminiscent of the joyful sounds of Horace Silver and Lee Morgan, with guest trumpeter Martin Shaw added to the core Quartet.
Waltz For My Father is the first of the father and son collaborations and is a pretty tune with Nash light and airy on soprano sax. There is also a nice bass feature for Geoff Gascoyne.
Do we really need another version of All The Things You Are? On this evidence, yes we do. An unusual arrangement with Nash, on baritone, recalling the spirit of Gerry Mulligan.
The Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso has almost become a new jazz standard and it is good to hear it in a Latin treatment.
Majolica is set in a Calypso vein and incudes a witty quote from Lady Be Good from Dave Newton at the piano.
Beverley Vaughan supplies suitably romantic vocals on Be My Valentine.
There's not a single poor track on this recording but if pressed to pick one favourite it would be Voodoo Rex which rings the changes yet again evoking an old-time New Orleans marching band with Martin Shaw and Winston Rollins on trombone filling out the sound of the Quartet. Special mention too on this track for drummer Sebastiaan de Krom.
All in all an excellent recording which derserves plenty of air play and is certainly my personal tip for record of the year.
Review by Alan Musson - JazzRag - November 2011