Rolled out of bed at 5:30 this morning, waking to the ring tone I created using a fragment of “Sisters”  from my recording Rhyme and Reason. (By the way, I now offer ring tones for sale on my web site - go to the “store” link.) Man, I am only one paragraph into this blog and have already plugged two things.

Anyway, I am writing from 28,000 feet. Just got on a connecting flight out of Philadelphia. I managed to get my horn in the overhead bin on this one. The first flight, from La Guardia to Philadelphia, presented more a challenge for my Pro-Tec tenor sax case. As I was boarding I was stopped by a ground crewman in a bright rubbery-looking yellow jump suit who assured me there was no way  that case was going to fit in the overhead. I assured him right back “I have been flying for 25 years and have NEVER had a problem getting my case in the overhead.” “Yeah, but have you ever flown a Dash-8 before?” he snapped back handing me yellow claim tag, that perfectly matched his outfit. Now, the only small-plane name I can remember was the Fokker 50, which, after boarding in France last summer, cats in the band were constantly yelling out things like “I hope they get this Fokker off the ground” and “Wow, this Fokker goes fast.” But the Dash-8 was new to me. Got on the plane and of course the horn did NOT fit in the overhead. The man in the yellow suit appeared and said “Hey, man, it’s not a full flight - you can just put it under the seat behind you. I used to play the alto in high school, so I know what it means to be transporting a delicate instrument.” And with a quick smile he was gone.

I am on my way to Cincinnati to play the Constella Festival, a new music festival run by violinist Tatiana Berman. I will be performing a premier of a piece commissioned by Ms. Berman. She and I met about a year-and-a-half ago at a reception held backstage after performing Portrait in Seven Shades with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It was at this reception that we started talks about a commission piece. Talks continued, concepts were decided upon, time has passed, and here we are - three days from the premier.

I am very excited to hear the music - a work in three movements I call Suite Ivette. It is written for the same instrumentation I used on my recording (and ring tone!) Rhyme and Reason: string quartet, sax, vibes, piano, bass and drums.

The next 72 hours will be very active: rehearsals, education, sponsor dinner, radio interviews and concerts. The premier will happen at the end of these very full days, on October 29th. The venue is the Blue Wisp, a great jazz club that I last played more than 20 years ago with my quartet. This was my absolute very first gig with pianist Frank Kimbrough, a story perhaps deserving it’s own blog.

I am looking forward to meeting and playing with the musicians who will join me to be part of this new music. By the way, in addition to the premier on the 29th, we’ve added a gig the night before, also at the Wisp, with just the jazz quintet - no strings attached.

For more information, visit the Constella Festival web site:
I’ve got what feels like the first day off if in ages. But a day off is always an opportunity to advance projects and ideas that are floating around - either currently just a conception, or perhaps something you have started but haven’t finished. I have a lot of these...

The first bit of exciting new is my daughter, Lisa, moved to New York. She was born in Brooklyn, moved to Northern California at age 4, and grew up in a sleepy mining town called Grass Valley. She really does seem more a California girl than a New Yorker. However, after receiving her diploma in radio and TV broadcasting, she is back in the Big Apple, applying for jobs. Several blogs back I included a link to hear Lisa’s singing on a Youtube video, and will do so again here (mainly because I am a proud father):

Many years ago my father, Dick Nash, gave Lisa a beautiful old trombone he had once used. Lisa always loved playing it, and one Christmas it was hers - a vintage Olds Super with 7.5 inch red brass bell with a nickel resonator ring, duel-bore handslide (.485/.500), fluted inner slides and a nickel outer slide. In fact, this was the trombone my father first had me playing when I was 7, long before I could reach 7th position. I didn’t play it long enough to ever explore just what I might find in 7th position, but switched instead to the piano, for which I seemed to have a stronger affinity.

Well, Lisa has decided to part with the Olds Super and we just listed it on eBay. If you know any trombone players who might want a small bore horn, or are fans of Dick Nash and would like to own an instrument he played, this their chance. Here is the link:

A bunch of other things going on, and I will write more detailed blogs as they develop. One I am very excited about is “Project Student Horn” which is getting under way. I have been buying and fixing up older professional alto saxophones, models that have been overlooked. Many young players can’t afford to own top professional instruments, as they cost thousands of dollars, and end up buying inexpensive student horns that are basically garbage. That’s just not right. I am going to launch “Project Student Horn” very soon, which will offer to students at a very low cost ($500) an instrument I have sought out for its nice sound and good mechanics, repaired and ready to go, with a new mouthpiece (I am currently working with Beechler on a design), neckstrap, ligature and cap. (By the way, I just recorded my latest album with one of these horns, and have been touring and performing on one with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra - used it on the PBS Live from Lincoln Center broadcast "Wynton at 50" last week).

More to come...