Composing Freedom

A Conversation with Jazz at Lincoln Center musicians Walter Blanding and Ted Nash

In partnership with the Shubert Theatre

Join composers and musical greats Walter Blanding and Ted Nash in a conversation about using their artistic gifts to highlight freedom and democracy in our contemporary culture. The conversation is a companion to "The Democracy! Suite" featuring The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet with Wynton Marsalis, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Moderated by Denise Santisteban, this talkback with musicians Walter Blanding and Ted Nash will take place after the limited-run, pre-recorded performance of "The Democracy! Suite." Learn more about that event here.

Walter Blanding

Walter Blanding was born into a musical family on August 14, 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio. He began playing the saxophone at age six and by age 16, he was performing regularly with his parents at the Village Gate. Blanding attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts and continued his studies at the New School for Social Research where he earned a B.F.A. in 2005. His 1991 debut release, Tough Young Tenors, was acclaimed as one of the best jazz albums of the year, and his artistry began to impress listeners and critics alike. He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 1998 and has performed, toured and/or recorded with his own groups and with such renowned artists as the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, Hilton Ruiz, Count Basie Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Isaac Hayes, and many others. Blanding lived in Israel for four years and had a major impact on the music scene while touring the country with his own ensemble and with U.S. artists such as Louis Hayes, Eric Reed, Vanessa Rubin, and others invited to perform there. He taught music in several Israeli schools and eventually opened his own private school in Tel Aviv. During this period, Newsweek International called him a “Jazz Ambassador to Israel.”

Ted Nash

Ted Nash was born into a musical family in Los Angeles. His father, Dick Nash, and uncle, the late Ted Nash, were both well-known jazz and studio musicians. The younger Nash exploded onto the jazz scene at eighteen, moved to New York and released his first album, Conception (Concord Jazz). He is co-leader of the Jazz Composers Collective and is constantly pushing the envelope in the world of “traditional jazz.” His group Odeon has often been cited as a creative focus of jazz. Many of Nash’s recordings have received critical acclaim, and have appeared on the “best of” lists in the New York Times, New Yorker, Village Voice, Boston Globe, and Newsday. His recordings, The Mancini Project (Palmetto Records) and Sidewalk Meeting (Arabesque Recordings), have been placed on several “best-of-decade” lists. His album Portrait in Seven Shades was recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and was released in 2010. The album is the first composition released by the JLCO featuring original music by a band member other than bandleader Wynton Marsalis.