Oliver Nelson: A Bientot


A Bientot


Oliver Nelson (tenor sax)


Fantabulous (Verve 001079502)

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Oliver Nelson (tenor sax), Phil Woods (alto sax), Art Hoyle (trumpet),

Snooky Young (trumpet), Ray Wiegand, Tony Studd (trombones), Kenny Sonderblum (alto sax, flute), Bob Ashton (tenor sax, clarinet), Jerome Richardson (baritone sax, flute, alto flute), Patti Bown (piano), Ben Tucker (bass), Grady Tate (drums)


Composed by Billy Taylor. Arranged by Oliver Nelson


Recorded: Chicago, March 19, 1964


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

After his seminal The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961), Oliver Nelson was in high demand as arranger of choice for many studio and motion picture projects. His commercial success was viewed as a mixed blessing, however, by admirers who felt his music was compromised by the needs of his employers. In this 1964 recording, Nelson reclaims his credentials as both a marvelously intuitive arranger/composer of the big band format as well as an underappreciated, unique voice on the tenor sax. With the times being influenced by such tenor titans as Coltrane and Rollins, and by Nelson's cohort on this recording altoist Phil Woods, Oliver economically yet passionately delivers his own take on how the horn should be played, to great effect. On this marvelous, moody Billy Taylor composition, Oliver's tenor is at times Coltranesque in its searching quality, but is never imitative in either tone or harmonic approach. Nelson's orchestration is sublime, and the soaring trumpet solo of relative unknown Chicagoan Art Hoyle is a bow to the famous trumpet solos of big bands of the past. This performance never fails to stir the soul.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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