This bold and striking new big band recording reflects a giant, generous world of influences.  Guitarist Richard Nelson has written a suite of music that would seem at home on a jazz stage or in a contemporary concert- music venue. . . The writing is complex but emotionally engaging, dense yet clean and resonant. . . .The colors of the orchestra are spellbinding, evocative and powerful.   --New York City Jazz Record --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------             A student of avant-garde composers Donald Erb and Mario Davidovsky, and a core member of Mark Harvey's Boston- based Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Nelson takes a few cues from these experiences, and adds more than a few of his own, to come up with a distinctive synthesis of modern jazz, and contemporary orchestral music. . . Nelson is an ambitious and daring composer . . . Props go to Nelson for letting the members of his ensemble have most of the solo space, though his guitar solo on "Strive" leaves a hunger to hear more.   --AllAboutJazz.com --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------             Nelson's new CD "Pursuit," released this week, is a bold and highly satisfying musical statement by his Large Ensemble (13 musicians). Recorded live at the University of Maine at Augusta, where Nelson teaches, the work includes five movements that range in content from thoughtful solos through chamberlike passages for duos and trios to full-out collective improvisations. Add touches of big band swagger, as Nelson does, and you've got a lot to paddle through -- but it's a very fun trip.          --Portland Press Herald -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------             Eleven years into local CD reviewing and I'm pretty sure that Pursuit, guitarist Richard Nelson's third album, is the first to feature a jazz ensemble of this size and scope.  It's a pleasure to listen to. . . . Associate professor of music and head of the composition concentration at the University of Maine at Augusta, Nelson here is documenting what must be considered a significant American composition.­ --Portland Phoenix”

— Praise for Pursuit:

   "Thirst for experimentation . . . pushing of known boundaries . . . appreciation for the time-tested sounds of the tradition. Not your typical guitar date. --Cadence --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nelson merges Euro-jazz type improvisation with the upfront tenacity of a multi-directional New York City downtown-like vibe. --EJazzNews  ”

— Praise for Origin Story:

Serious . . . intense . . . imaginative . . . profound . . . --Dave Nathan in All Music Guide ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nelson's tone is ripe with clarity . . . his guitar rings out with his original concepts. --Frank Rubolino in Cadence Magazine  ”

— Praise for Figurations:

Upcoming Shows

May23

Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Blue, 650A Congress Street, Portland

The Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Creative contemporary jazz meets jazz-tinged blues and Americana, featuring vocalist Marcia Gallagher. Alongside guitarist Nelson’s dynamic and exploratory contemporary jazz compositions, expect South African jazz, music by Thelonious Monk, and jazz-tinged takes on blues and Americana classics featuring Maine's outstanding jazz vocalist Marcia Gallagher. The program will include titles from Nelson's latest CD Deep River, on which Gallagher is a featured vocalist.

Featuring: Richard Nelson, guitar Marcia Gallagher, vocals Frank Mauceri, tenor saxophone Peter Herman, guitar Asher Barreras, bass RJ Miller, drums

"Thirst for experimentation . . . pushing of known boundaries . . . appreciation for the time-tested sounds of the tradition. Not your typical guitar date." --Cadence

"('Deep River' is) a masterful suite by composer/guitarist Richard Nelson that merges jazz and American folk music." --Boston Globe