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by Andrew Velez
The work of Oliver Nelson (1932-1975), saxophonist, composer and arranger (including composing orchestral and chamber music in non-jazz idioms), is remembered in this typically classy Mosaic six-CD set of 1962-1967 sessions. In his liner notes Nelson scholar and saxophonist and composer/arranger Kenny Berger observes, The recordings in this set were made from the mid to late period of the last golden age of the studio recording in New York. Nelson's experience as a jazz soloist himself made ...read more
by Samuel Chell
Screamin' the Blues is an apt description of the soloists' approach on this 1960 session, here reissued as an RVG remaster, the first of three matching leader Oliver Nelson with avant-gardist Eric Dolphy. Although not as well-known as Nelson's masterpiece, Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961), the date is characterized, above all, by generosity" on the part of all three principals, including the underrated trumpeter Richard Williams.
Nelson's tenor solo on the title tune is the equivalent of an operatic ...read more
by Chris May
A gutsy, down-home, blues-drenched saxophonist who could make flames burst out of the bell of his horn, Oliver Nelson is probably best remembered for his back-room chores on other musicians' records. He arranged Jimmy Smith's biggest chart hit, Walk On The Wild Side," and an even bigger one for Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World." He also arranged some enduring film scores, notably Sonny Rollins' music for Alfie, Gato Barbieri's music for Last Tango In Paris, and Diana Ross' Billie ...read more
by Ronald S. Russ
There were many saxophonists on the scene in 1960 who would influence jazz for the next forty years. While saxophonist/composer/arranger Oliver Nelson might not be the best known of the musicians of that era, he blew alongside some of the greats. He is probably best known for his compositions and arrangements ("Stolen Moments," Miss Fine" and Hobo Flats" come to mind). Nelson was born in St. Louis, Missouri and played with big bands like the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra in the late ...read more
by Keiran Smalley
Contrast is everything. Think of food for example: A big salty hunk of mature cheese is nicely offset by a couple of sweet grapes. Gastronomes would never dream of eating a rich foie-gras without the accompaniment of the honeyed sweetness of a glass of Sauternes.
The same is true with music; a whole album of fast-paced music quickly becomes draining. Likewise, an hour of chilled-out dub can send you to sleep. The saxophonist and composer Oliver Nelson ...read more