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Ted Nash Helps Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Expand Repertoire

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Saxophonist Ted Nash might play with one of the best-known classic jazz ensembles of today, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, but it doesn't mean his composer side is stuck in the traditional jazz genre.



“We tend to limit ourselves based on what people have done before us and what we have done before," he says. “It's an easy trap to fall into, when you're writing for a big band, writing in a format that's comfortable for everyone."

Nash's latest composition, Portrait in Seven Shades -- which was recently released on CD and will be performed in Rochester March 22 by the Lincoln Center group -- goes against the grain not only for a jazz ensemble work, but also for the ensemble that commissioned and recorded it.

Lincoln Center is the white castle of jazz ensembles, based in New York City and led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The group keeps a clear vantage point on jazz's historical roots, rarely delving into contemporary forms. And while Nash's Portrait in Seven Shades isn't free jazz by any means, it is a significant departure for his ensemble.

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