Ted Nash and the attempt to connect through creativity

For several days of the recently concluded Jazz Plaza 2023 International Festival, the morning has been reserved for the grand event. Those who came to the House of Cuban Art of the National Museum of Fine Arts were fascinated by the music that came from different rooms of the object.

They were young students of art schools who participated in the residence of the American saxophonist and composer Ted Nash. Jazz x art is the name chosen for this joint initiative that brought together plastic arts, music and dance in a large concert that took place on January 28 in the courtyard of the museum institution.

Surrounded by the work of Wifredo Lama, in the hall on the third floor of the building, where the exhibition dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the birth of the visual artist is exhibited, young Cuban performers, under the auspices of Nash, built a concert program of the latter. a week consisting of works that were the result of the various inspirations of each of them, as a result of sensual and emotional contact with a pictorial work of their choice in the museum.

The fact that the workshop was held there is an important symbolic gesture of the creative commitment of the American musician, whose inspiration for this approach to Cuban culture stems from his contacts with JungleLama, a work that is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Pieces from the Cuban visual bulwark such as Chair, sit woman, Third World, Motherhood they witnessed how, little by little, musical compositions took shape, which from the very beginning turned into an open dialogue between the creator from North America and emerging artists, also accompanied by pianist Alejandro Falcon and members of his Cubadentro project, Ruy López. -Nussa on drums and Arnulfo Guerra on bass.

“We wanted to do this work in the environment of art and be able to find in the composition a way to know ourselves and express ourselves to other people. Jazz is music that is largely based on improvisation, so after this work on the composition, jazz became a journey of self-discovery for us,” Ted Nash assured in an exchange with the press during the days of the festival.

The renowned North American saxophonist and flautist has a solid body of work, backed by two Grammy Awards for his compositional work. In addition, he is a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Wynton Marsalis, as well as other international projects, but his passion for the plastic arts dominates his creative interests, which brought him back to the Greater Antilles.

“My goal is to connect through creativity,” says Ted Nash, who has a background in this kind of creative work that even led him to a museum in Beijing with Chinese musicians, work that led to the recording of material.

As for Jazz x art, it is not yet known whether the resulting work will become any material, but the experience was documented in detail, and its participants reached the end of the road with satisfaction and a desire to repeat it.

For almost a week, young musicians went around the museum from top to bottom in search of that pictorial work, where their emotions overwhelmed the music. And each of them too, and then together they built a musical discourse around the chosen picture.

According to Nash rebellious youth“Connection can be both individual and collective. I try to get the students to collaborate on composition and we rely on jazz music simply because it allows improvisation and it gives a very nourishing process of freedom when it comes to creativity. I was really moved by how seriously they took the project and there were really interesting approaches to the creative process.

“It’s an exchange process in which I learn from them just as they learn from me, and we all learn from ourselves: this is the end of cooperation. I wish there were more musicians, a lot of people who can understand music, understand it as a way to bring people closer together.”

Successful creative path

If this 38th edition of the Festival was all about flow, Jazz x art is the benchmark. The afternoon of January 28 fell in the courtyard of the National Museum of Fine Arts, and the anticipation was full, among the public and, of course, among the musicians.

Everything that happened on stage was unprecedented. Fourteen compositions, the fruit of inspiration that each musician drew from Cuban paintings, were returned to the public in the format of a jazz band. With the dancing complicity of Malpaso, the man responsible for breaking the ice was the pianist Alejandro Falcon with his creation based on a work by Wifredo Lama, Character with two Eleggua.

Various sources of inspiration followed, taking Afro-Cuban jazz, swing, neo-soul, baroque music and even bolero as its medium, with various roles arising from creative exchanges with works such as women by the riverAntonio Gatorno, HurricaneLam, tribute to lonelinessServando Cabrera, spring or breakJorge Arche.

All you need is lovewritten by Flavio Garciandia, was a subtle mixture of son and Latin American jazz, invented by clarinetist Janio Abreu. Childrenwritten by Fidelio Ponce, served as an inspiration for two young musicians who achieved a special and virtuoso return: on the one hand, a bolero written by Reinaldo Russo, and on the other, a composition with Afro-Cuban overtones by saxophonist Gabriela Muriedas.

So other images began to appear, other names came to mind – Pogolotti, Portocarrero, Juana Borrero, Carlos Enriquez – and the music sprouted and told us about the emotions that guided its composers, with the complexity of the art of judging, feeling, musically in contact with other artistic genres. .

Jazz x art gives us the confidence that music has no barriers when it starts with a fertile perceptual ability, an essential value for any artist, for any audience. We are fortunate that we have the curiosity of creators like Ted Nash, who will no doubt, after this creative process, make these young people better composers, better musicians, better people.

The solo concert under the direction of the North American composer was dedicated to the 170th anniversary of the birth of the National Hero of Cuba, Jose Marti Photo: Ariadna Prado Cabale.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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