Oliver Nelson - The Blues & The Abstract Truth

Impulse! 0602517046566 | ****
Nelson (ts), Freddie Hubbard (t), Eric Dolphy (f, as), George Barrow (bs), Bill Evans (p), Paul Chambers (b), Roy Haynes (d). Rec. 1961
Oliver Nelson - The Blues & The Abstract Truth
Nelson himself called this his breakthrough album, when he learned how to write tunes and voice arrangements in a wholly personal style. It certainly contains his best-ever improvising, an inspired series of solos that hold their own alongside those of heavyweights Hubbard, Dolphy and Evans. Basing the entire set on the blues (something Dave Brubeck also did around that time on Time Further Out) was an inspired idea, giving Nelson the opportunity to stretch his imagination on a familiar but non-specific framework far away from the architecture of Broadway songs and to pace a whole album so that it coheres as an overall musical experience.

Perhaps Mingus’ ventures into this type of approach were influential in his thinking, but whatever the source for this, it remains an ideally conceived and perfectly executed mid-20th century jazz classic. This reissue is a no-nonsense serving of the record accompanied by Nelson’s original liner notes. Universal have opted to use the original print-run cover with the piano strings photo rather than the re-thought moody profile shot of Nelson himself that was hastily substituted and which, in my humble opinion, is far superior. Sometimes it’s a case of how echt can you get.

Review: Keith Shadwick

This review is taken from Jazzwise Issue #109, to read the most comprehensive review section of jazz and beyond and receive a  Free CD, subscribe here…