Reference: FSRCD 2229
Bar code: 8427328622295
"My Uncle Ted passed away on Thursday, May 12th. Who was my Uncle Ted? Ted Nash (my namesake) was one of the greatest saxophonist to appear on the scene during the swing band era, a mainstay star soloist in the Les Brown band in the late 1940s.
He loved playing and learning and in his early years always searched out opportunities to be where the action was, where serious playing was happening. After a gig with the Milkshake Band," as the Les Brown Band was affectionately known, he would head to the clubs where greats like Bird, Lester Young, and Lionel Hampton were playing late sets, and sit in. During this period he became quite well known as a soloist, finishing 4th in the Downbeat Critics Poll on tenor sax (right behind Lester Young).
He was also known for his use of the altissimo register (something rarely dealt with at that time). In 1949 he wrote a book called High Harmonics for the Saxophone, a book that is still available today. In fact a lot of people think it's my book (wish I could take credit for it!). Even with his success as a jazz player, he had set his sights on the blossoming Los Angeles studio scene, and settled there shortly after his stint with Les Brown.
He had a remarkable career doing TV, film and recordshe was on just about every Henry Mancini soundtrack made from the 50s to the 8Os. Frank Sinatra in an interview said Ted Nash was his favorite saxophonist. In fact, Sinatra would hire him to put together a quartet to play parties at his house, with guests like Humphrey Bogart and Judy Garland, who would always end up sitting in with the group.
By the 1980s, disillusioned with the change in the quality of the commercial music scene, my uncle retired quite young (in his 60s) and enjoyed his retirement playing tennis, spending time with his wife and walking on the beach in front of his beautiful house in Carmel, California.
Five years ago, in the midst of writing a book, a memoir of his musical journey, he suffered a stroke which seriously curtailed his ability to finish the last chapters. I flew out from New York several times to work with him on the book, now finished. It is an interesting, often humorous account of a life rich with musical and personal experiences. All we need is a publisher...
Although his settling into the studios largely removed him from the public eye, I always run into people asking about him, expressing how much he has inspired them. On my recent release, The Mancini Project," I pay homage to Uncle Ted (and my father Dick Nash) in many ways, but in particular by playing his interpretation of the bridge on Dreamsville using the same augmentation, expression and phrasing. Of course, I didn't sound like himthat would be impossiblebut it sure felt good trying!
Ted Nash (Dick Nash's son, May 2011)
The Nash brothers were born in Somerville, Massachusetts, but they were separated and brought up independently. Still, they found the same innate attraction for music and went about developing it. Teds background on flute, piccolo, clarinet, and all the saxes, and Dicks full-bodied, exciting style on trombone, made them the perfect addition to any orchestra. You can hear why in these, their only recordings together, and a fitting tribute to their reunion. They are an homage to their extensive career in the big band jazz and popular fields, and a reminder of their constant work at the Hollywood recording studios.
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