The Triumph of Life and Legacy
My life has been given sudden definition
An end point that I can almost prepare for
At once frightening and magnificent...
Paul Nash Diary, December 28 2003
The measure of a person's life can be seen in the impact they have on other lives and how they handle the often grim vagaries of life. In the face of one's own mortality, the entirety of emotions and fears can be overwhelming. Many though decide to soldier on and concern themselves with the time they have left, the mark they leave behind; with the story of how they inhabited this life and walked the earth.
Paul Nash, composer, educator and jazz guitarist, has written such a life story. After earning degrees in both jazz and classical composition, he created the 10-piece Paul Nash Ensemble in 1977. The group included trumpeter Mark Isham who, influenced by Nash's genre of morphing ideas, created New Age music for Windham Hill Records and become a Grammy and Academy Award nominated soundtrack composer. Nash also helped to organize the Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra, an ensemble that explored the merging of jazz and classical music. This group featured notable musicians such as trumpet player Tom Harrell, and vibist David Samuels.
In 1990 he moved back to New York and founded the Manhattan New Music Project (MNMP), which brought together various new music performers, including French horn innovator Tom Varner, and unsung guitar great Vic Juris, among others. Under the MNMP umbrella, Nash wrote chamber music, orchestral pieces and playful avant garde compositions inspired by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen.