89.1 WEMU

Stunning Jazz And Oratory: Ted Nash Presidential Suite

Nov 1, 2016

  Leading up to the November 8th election, WEMU will feature a track every weekday morning from the new CD Presidential Suite by The Ted Nash Big Band during 89.1 Jazz with Linda Yohn.  The recording is sub-titled Eight Variations On Freedom.  Saxophonist Ted Nash composed pieces based on addresses by important American and international leaders who were committed to peace, justice and freedom.

  The pieces reflect the cadence of the speaker, the speaker's personality and the time or issue that the speaker was addressing.  The complex arrangements are based on speeches by John F. Kennedy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Aung San Suu Kyi, Lyndon B. Johnson and Nelson Mandela.  


As important as the inspiration for the music is the quality of the music which is simply - exceptional.  Ted Nash has surpassed his own capacity for genius, sensitivity and creativity with this recording for Motéma Music.  Nash is a long-time member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra.  You will recognize fellow band-mates such as Wynton Marsalis, Ali Jackson, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, Vincent Gardner and Elliot Mason on the date under the leadership of Ted Nash.   We recommend the whole 2 CD set as an important musical and cultural artifact.   

One disc includes readings of the speeches along with the music while the other disc is music only.  To add a contemporary spin to the oratory, Ted Nash chose Joe Lieberman, Deepak Chopra, William Vanden Heuvel, Douglas Brinkley, David Miliband, Glenn Close, Sam Waterston and Andrew Young to read key passages from the original speeches.  The 36-page booklet that accompanies the two discs includes iconic photos, a timeline, insightful background on the leaders and their speeches, details about the genesis of the music as well as soloists and more information.   

To accompany Ted Nash’s Presidential Suite, WEMU will program music from Duke Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Oliver Nelson, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Hugh Masekela, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Abdullah Ibrahim and others who have written songs about peace and justice or songs that honor an important international leader.  This may appear to be very serious and heady stuff, but we promise you that the music will be entertaining and soothing along with being informative.  It is worthy of this level of showcase on WEMU and timely as we head toward a very important election. 

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— Linda Yohn is the WEMU Music Director, and host of 89.1 Jazz. Contact her at @LindaYohn on twitter, or email her at lyohn@emich.edu