Paul Nash was an accomplished jazz composer, arranger, guitarist, and educator who founded the Manhattan New Music Project. When diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor (which eventually took his life in 2005), Nash decided to wrap up his career by writing new works to put a stamp on his legacy, even if he never had the chance to hear them. Jazz Cycles is the first of the two projects that he completed at the end of his life, recorded by the Manhattan New Music Project only weeks before Nash's passing. The septet includes trumpeter Shane Endsley, Bruce Williamson (tenor and soprano saxes), tenor saxophonist Tim Ries, pianist Jim Ridl, guitarist Vic Juris, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Grisha Alexiev, all of whom bring life to Nash's compelling pieces. A number of the songs segue directly into one another, with Juris sometimes sounding like he is playing rock licks, an approach the composer himself favored at times. The brooding "Wind Over the Lake," the driving "Outside In," and the lush "Starlit Skylight" are all highlights, though all of the music is worth investigating. Proceeds from the sale of Jazz Cycles benefit the Paul Nash Memorial Fund.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden