Getting closer to Glenn and Ted Nash, new jazz duo
NEW YORK (AP) – Glenn Close recently made headlines his playful performance of “Da Butt” at the Oscars, but the revered actor has some real musical news: She’s releasing an album with Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist-songwriter Ted Nash on Friday.
“I learned about Go-go (music) and certainly the Washington, DC music scene from those years; I was able to do this little piece of “Da Butt” because I watched the Spike music video. Around the Oscars and after, I was doing this wonderful character for Gore Verbinski and his animated star – it won’t be out for a few years – but … it was all funk (music). And now I’m back to jazz. So, yeah, mix it up! It is really fun and interesting.
The Emmy and Tony winner is used to the premiere of her movies and TV shows, but releasing an album is a first: “I’m very, very excited to be in the world, especially now.”
Close has worked with Nash on his previous albums, but the two are co-stars on “Transformation: Personal Stories of Change, Acceptance, and Evolution”, an 11 track jazz album that tackles heavy topics like race, politics. , identity and Suite. Nash, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, was commissioned to compose music to match the words – both newly written lyrics and handpicked selections by Glenn of poets Ted Hughes and Conrad Aiken, of biologist EO Wilson and playwright Tony Kushner.
Close, who offers his voice on three songs, called on friends to help him complete the album, including acclaimed jazz musician and Lincoln Center Jazz artistic director Wynton Marsalis, as well as epic players from JLCO. . Oscar-nominated actor Amy Irving reads “One Among Many,” written by former radical Judith Clark at the behest of Close and Emmy-winning host Wayne Brady, on three tracks and even wrote an original titled “A Piece by the Angriest Black Man in America (or, how I learned to forgive myself for being a black man in America). ”
“I feel like every time there is a new project, it’s an opportunity to grow as an artist and embrace new ideas. I think it’s something that as I get older I realize is more important to me. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I want to write a little hip (expletive),’ ”Nash said.
The musician added that his job was to help the speakers on the album deliver with authenticity and “absolutely support someone who gives them courage and supports them in a way that helps them emotionally and gives them a safe space to do so.
Nash plays several roles on the album, from composer to instrumentalist, producer and conductor. But he has also become a subject: his son Eli talks about his experience as a transgender man on “Dear Dad / Letter”. His father responds – with instrumental music – on “Dear Dad / Response”.
“It was very emotional and Ted didn’t know if he could get away with it, actually. But when you put your soul into your instrument, into your music, I think it was a very healing experience for him, ”Close said. “A very transformative experience.”
“When (my son) started reading the article, I didn’t expect to feel the things that I was feeling,” Nash explained. “Suddenly I think everyone is hearing this. They hear this personal song that was a letter to me, and I play (music) with it. And I became very full. But, on the contrary, it just helped me to have an opportunity for deeper expression.
Close, Nash, the orchestra, and special guests recorded the album at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City early last year before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Close said before making the album, jazz intimidated her a bit.
“I thought you must know what you were hearing. But now I’m inspired just because I think it’s deeply American and also deeply human, ”she said. “It’s an expression of the human condition, of dissonance, of harmony – all these different instruments playing on top of each other. In a good world, everyone has the right to stand up and play their part. “
Although Close, 74, is best known for her movie roles and eight Oscar nominations, as well as three Emmys for television performances, she has always had a connection to music. One of her three Tony Awards was for the musical “Sunset Boulevard” and she also got a nomination for her performance in “Barnum”. She even scored a Best Original Song at the Golden Globes for co-writing. “Lower your head” from “Albert Nobbs,” a 2011 Close film produced, co-written and starred in.
When asked if she had ever taken an instrument, she replied with a laugh, “I take them. I don’t necessarily play them.
“My big dream is to learn to play electric bass. I want to sit in the background with a cool hat. I actually have a really cool Gibson electric bass and started lessons here. But then I go to work and it all falls apart and I forget things, ”she said. “But if I can learn six songs and do them really well, I think that would be fun.”
Teaming up with Nash allowed Close to fulfill another dream: releasing a full album to the real world. And Nash has high hopes for their collaborative project – he wants it to spark change around the world.
“You can take whatever you want out of this project, whether it’s just that you like Wayne Brady and how he talks, or you think what he’s saying is deep enough to get you into some kind of action, or somewhere in between. My goal is to get people into some kind of thoughtful action, but maybe it’s a lofty goal.
Another goal: to win a Grammy, especially since it brings Close closer to EGOT status.
“The accolades should never be the reason I do anything … but I think for Glenn – it’s just a personal thing – I would love to see her get a Grammy Award because she has it. three out of the four EGOTs, ”Nash mentioned.
Close is no stranger to the Grammys. She was nominated three times in the ’80s, although she admits, “I forgot, in fact, that I was nominated for a Grammy.”
At one point, she even competed with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Jesse Jackson. Who conquered it? Jack Nicholson, Ben Kingsley and Robin Williams, who died in 2014.
“Awww,” she said, putting her hand on her heart. “I am very proud to lose to Robin Williams.”
“Well, it’s okay, I’d love to if it got a (Grammy), even being nominated would be amazing,” she added.