Rebecca Nash: Redefining Element 78

Pianist Nash leads trumpet, alto, guitar and rhythm in a set that skilfully balances compositional distinction and improvisatory verve

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On the strength of this album Rebecca Nash should soon be enjoying a much higher profile on the overcrowded contemporary jazz scene, not least because the music amounts to an uncommonly fine balance struck between compositional distinction and improvisatory verve. The result is a set that stands out from the pack and augurs well for her future.

Such success is achieved in no small part by the fact that she’s working with a band collectively alert to the subtle depths that her compositions imply. Thus the shades of John Abercrombie evident in Leeming’s solo on the reflective Osmium serve the relatively high ideal of indicating where the music’s coming from and indeed how it can be transformed in such sensitive hands.

Sticking with the reflective theme, it’s clear throughout the set that Nick Malcolm is a trumpeter to keep an eye on, not least because his avoidance of histrionics and evident appreciation for making notes count are crucial, as exemplified by his work on Platinum II.

As a soloist Nash has great appreciation for and ability to create form-in-the-moment. Indeed it would be great to hear her in a piano-bass-drums setting at some point in the future, not least because she arguably defers a little too much to her band members on this occasion.

From the moment he first committed music to record John O’Gallagher has been a worthwhile voice, and this album underlines the point; his solo on Rhodium is that of a musician who knows how to navigate the choppiest waters with individuality intact.

On a set not lacking in beauty, Palladium-Noble Heart exhibits the greatest depths of that quality, the progress of the music seemingly draped across a repeated, minimal guitar figure. Programmed as it is at the end of the set, it hints richly at things to come.

Discography
Platinum I; Osmium; Rhodium; Iridium II; Ruthenium; Iridium I; Platinum II; Palladium-Noble Heart (52.21)
Nick Malcolm (t); John O’Gallagher (as); Rebecca Nash (p); Jamie Leeming (elg); Paul Michael (elb); Matt Fisher (d, pc); Nick Walters (elec) on Rhodium. Chris Mapp (elec) on  Iridium I and II. Sansom Studio, 23 April 2022.
Whirlwind Recordings WR4796