Ted Nash's quintet has a slightly different instrumentation than the usual jazz group: the leader's got reeds, violin, tuba, accordion and drums! Nash switches between tenor, alto, clarinet, bass clarinet and alto flute while Clark Gayton triples on tuba, trombone and baritone horn. Joined by violinist Nathalie Bonin (who has a beautiful "legit" tone), Bill Schimmel on accordion and drummer Matt Wilson, the group performs unique renditions of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," "Tico Tico" and two movements from Concierto de Aranjuez plus three of the leader's originals. The unpredictable music they create, which is influenced by the cultures of Latin America, South America and Eastern Europe, is full of logical development, rich melodies and unusual tone colors. Each of the musicians is a virtuoso and the colorful arrangements utilize their instruments in unexpected ways, with any of the players being potentially in the lead at any time. La Espada de la Noche is an especially memorable and unique set, one of the more inspired jazz recordings of 2005.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow