Oliver Nelson: Yearnin'




Oliver Nelson (tenor sax)


The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse 154)

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Oliver Nelson (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Roy Haynes (drums),

George Barrow (baritone sax)


Composed by Oliver Nelson


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 23, 1961


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The Blues and the Abstract Truth is a landmark for more reasons than one. It's a "supergroup" record that's the farthest thing from a blowing session a testament to Oliver Nelson's masterful writing and arranging. Here he also keeps up with the Sunday-morning sounding Freddie Hubbard and a possessed Eric Dolphy improvisation a testament to Nelson's masterful and under-recognized tenor playing. And the rhythm section of Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes is a cross-section of classic beauty and innovation that is reunited here after their work with J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding one year prior a testament to leader Nelson's masterful combo building.

While there's more explosive Haynes playing elsewhere on this disc ("Hoe Down" or "Cascades"), "Yearnin'" presents a satisfying, steady, bordering-on-straight swinging groove that's reminiscent of both his early swing-band days and his ability to lay down a spacious R&B groove with the best of them. Note how, usually ready to pounce on an improvisation as action-filled as Dolphy's is here, Haynes sacrifices quantity of notes for deepness of groove, and mostly stays out of Dolphy's way. After getting a bit more active for Hubbard's improvisation, Roy raises the groove stakes for a powerful yet laid-back shuffle over the final presentation of the melody. A restrained and refined performance from top to bottom.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


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