272

Oliver Nelson: Straight Ahead

By

Sign in to view read count
Oliver Nelson: Straight Ahead 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 was obviously acutely aware of this when choosing his musical sparring partners. Nelson's decision to share the frontline on three albums with the multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy is often described as brave. I believe that Nelson knew exactly what he was doing. Dolphy, a hero of the avant-garde, has a style so diametrically opposed to Oliver Nelson’s that the two just can’t help but complement each other.

This synergy is beautifully demonstrated on the 1961 recording Straight Ahead. Both soloists play a number of instruments, with Nelson on alto/tenor saxophone and clarinet and Dolphy on bass clarinet, alto saxophone and flute. Oliver Nelson was a jazz composer par excellence, and this album does not disappoint. It contains a number of memorable themes, such as “Six and Four,” “Mama Lou” and “Straight Ahead.” Best of all: the soloing. The high-speed elasticity of Dolphy’s runs contrast perfectly with the pure, soaring tone of Nelson. The two horn players spark each other and generate music of genuine intensity.

It is worth noting that Oliver Nelson and Eric Dolphy played together on a number of other albums, the highlight of which must be the classic chamber-jazz of The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Pass the grapes.....


Track Listing: Images; Six and Four; Mama Lou; Ralph's New Blues; Straight Ahead; 111-44

Personnel: Oliver Nelson: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Richard Wyands: piano; George Duvivier: bass; Roy Haynes: drums

Year Released: 1961 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Some Other Time" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Akustik InventYours" CD/LP/Track Review Akustik InventYours
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!