I have known Ted for many years and always regarded him as one of the finest musical talents of my generation. His ability to use various disciplines to inspire his music (art, literary contexts, speeches, etc.) reflects his continuing interest in the world and our society. I have had the opportunity to play with him in commercial situations and always respected his humble, positive attitude and prodigious talent. I have also seen Ted in music education scenarios and he is equally committed to helping young players develop and carry on the tradition of superlative music making that he and his family have given us through the years. Quite simply, Ted is a musician’s musician. Please check out more information about this unique artist on his website at tednash.com.
In this interview, Ted speaks about his multi-dimensional career including work with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Broadway shows, his life as a woodwind doubler, jazz artist and composer. He also demonstrates the process he goes through for developing his jazz improvisations and how he teaches his students. Finally, we discuss his Grammy-Award winning album, “The Presidential Suite,” and his equipment choices for saxophones, clarinets & flutes.
Ted Nash was born into a family of world-class artists who established themselves as stars in both the jazz and studio worlds beginning in the 1940s. Ted’s dad, Dick Nash, was regarded as one of the great trombonists in the post World War II Era while his uncle, Ted Nash, Sr., was a formidable saxophonist and jazz star of the 1940s. Both were stalwarts of the Hollywood studios for decades. Ted Nash, Jr. has continued in that great tradition as a multi-talented and multi-dimensional player. Ted has made New York his home since 1979 and has performed in every imaginable type of musical situation. He has also established himself as a wonderful composer and arranger. Over his career, he has played and/or recorded with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Louie Bellson, Quincy Jones, Don Ellis, Gerry Mulligan, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Don Ellis, The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Blue Mitchell, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, and is a longtime member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. A virtuoso saxophonist, clarinetist & flutist, Ted was a founding member of the New York-based Jazz Composers Collective as well as his own eclectic group, Odeon. He has 12 albums as a leader to his credit, including three releases featuring big band for which he did all of the writing. He has been nominated several times for Grammy Awards and recently received his first Grammy Award as a leader for his latest CD: Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom.