Rebecca Nash & Atlas: Peaceful King
Monday, October 21, 2019
★★★★ (Whirlwind Recordings – WR4748) Rebecca Nash (p, ky), Sara Colman (v), Nicholas Malcolm (t), Thomas Seminar Ford (g, elec), Chris Mapp (b, elec), Matt Fisher (d) and Nick Walters (elec). Rec. October 2017 and November 2018
Drawing on players from Entropi, Paradox Ensemble and other projects she plays in, pianist Rebecca Nash has assembled a like-minded collective whose strengths she knows well. Thus armed, she has created a debut album of distinctively written pieces that allows her band plenty of individuality, while her subtly persuasive keyboards keep things moving in her chosen direction.
Tunes like the purposeful ‘Tumbleweed’ or the haunting ‘Little Light’ take shifts in tone and timing with a natural ease, balancing melodic unity with the free flow of Nick Malcolm’s elegant trumpet or Thomas Seminar Ford’s judicious guitar, while the title-track’s wistfully optimistic melody evolves through Nash’s reflective and spacious piano towards an anthemic resolution.
Sara Colman’s clear and musical vocals are a strong feature of the album, well blended to the textures around her on ‘Grace’ with its sections of free-flowing reverie or the multi-layered, higher production ‘Dreamer’.
The instantly catchy ‘Hotwired’ comes straight out of the traps with its shrewd observation of our socially mediated times with “something unexpected coming out of nowhere – and everywhere”.
Whether songs or instrumentals, there is a strong sense of Nash’s gently assertive presence presiding over the music, giving a consistency of imagination that runs through to the exuberance of closing track ‘Inishbofin’.
It is the clarity of this creative ‘voice’ that unifies the project and marks her out as one to watch, both as composer and musician.
This review originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Jazzwise. To enjoy reviews of the best new albums and reissues every month, subscribe to Jazzwise