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5.0 out of 5 stars Get it. You'll love it., July 18 2004
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
This is a classic. This is one of those rare supergroup types of gatherings that lives up to the hype.
Although these three Oliver Nelson albums don't have the exact same personnel, I consider them all sisters, and classics. This one (Blues and the Abstract Truth), Screamin' the Blues, and Straight Ahead. All three of these are essential, in my opinion. Yes Abstract is the one that gets more press, but if you haven't heard Screamin' and Straight Ahead, you are missing some excellent music.
Stolen Moments and Yearnin' are what I would consider to be the two legendary melodies here, but the whole album is packed full of greatness. Yearnin' is also interesting to me because in a way, it has some of my least favorite Dolphy playing. The melody is beautiful, but when Dolphy enters his solo he does so in an abrasive way that really doesn't fit the song. In a sense, he shatters the mood of the song. It's odd to hear this from him. Then one song later he enters his solo in epic fashion. It's one of my all-time favotite Dolphy moments.
If you're anything like me, every time you listen to one of these three Nelson albums you'll wonder to yourself why Nelson himself isn't more often thought of as one of the best tenor players ever. His tone is so gorgeous and his playing is creative and emotional. He almost never fails to move me and surprise me. He could have been the best tenor player in any church in America.
As usual, Chambers and Haynes are right on, always. They propel this band like only the greats can do. I can't help but think that no bass player ever, aside from maybe James Jamerson (Motown), played on more legendary sessions than Paul.
Also, I love the quality of this recording. The tones are so full and rich, and there is an almost magical glow around every note. This is one of those albums where it all came together.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All star jazz cast, March 2 2004
By 
Enrique Torres "Rico" (San Diegotitlan, Califas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
Never heard this disc before? Not sure if it would be for you? Read all the customer reviews here and you'll notice several things , with the exception of one four star rating all the others have given it five stars and praise as one of the all time best studio recordings in the field of jazz. Look at the personnel. It is a who's who of the best and leaders in their own right but on this occasion they were under the guidance of Oliver Nelson who writes all the compositions, arranges the music and oh, by the way , plays alto and tenor saxophone on this disc. The music is complex and for musicians who undrerstand the time measurements and even those like myself who are less versed in the structure of music, the music is arranged in simply iiresistible melodies. For those of us who don't understand musical structure but appreciate beautiful harmony it just sounds tight. The structure with each song is one that changes with different harmonic progressions interlaced with outstanding solos by the giants on their perspective instruments, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Bil Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and flute, Roy Haynes on drums and additional saxophone work by George Barrow on barritone and Oliver Neslson on alto and tenor saxophone. This is jazz as it was intended to be in 1961; pure , unadulterated, deep but accessible soulful instumentals based on the blues structure but totally original. Some others have suggested this to be the proverbial desert island music. It definitely ranks way up there on a short list of jazz discs that don't come around very often and as near to perfection as possible. Again look at the contributors that made this possible , produced by Cecil Taylor and engineered by the one man team of Rudy Van Gelder just polish up the all star cast. Of all the songs my absolute fave is "Stolen Moments" that is introduced by Hubbards soft, soulful eloquent trumpet that lays the foundation for a trip down a very cool passage into Dolphy's fine flute work and Nelson's sax that is methodically accentuated by the thumping bass line of Chambers for a swinging introduction to the piano of Evans and the beginning to one of the best jazz discs of all time. If you are into jazz then you know how good this disc is, it is nearly flawless in all regards. If you are learning about jazz, go back to 1961 to experience this classic. A worthwhile addition to any collection of music and essential for jazz collections this disc is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Speaks the truth..., Feb. 4 2004
By 
"howlinw" (California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
Sometimes in music you get one of those rare moments when "it" just comes together and the results are classic. "It" is hard to define-- it's more than just the session men (too many "supergroups" fail for various reasons), the era (timeless music tends to actually transcend its era), or the composer. Something has to happen- something that could almost be attributed to magic or a spiritual force- to create a recording or performance that works on every level and then some. Well, this is one of those moments in history where you clearly have "it." What's great about this record- to me- is the sound. It's not blues, it's not chamber music. It's deep and resonating, echoing and rich. It's really its own thing- it might smack of big band or bebop but it's more. "Kind of Blue" also has this sound, and is a good comparison. My suggestion is to put this on in a darkened room at night and let it play all the way through, at least once. You'll swear you had a spiritual experience. Not often can that be said for a record.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The real thing, Aug. 27 2003
By 
Eric J. Lyman (Roma, Lazio Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
This is one of the few jazz CDs that manages to live up to its reputation without sounding like a cliché. Oliver Nelson's too-short career had a big impact on many who followed him and there is no shortage of musicians who copied (or tried to copy) his eclectic and cosmopolitan style. But the sound is still fresh and beautiful and absorbing more than 40 years after it was recorded.
Over the last couple of decades, it seems like the term "jazz" has been expanded to include a great deal of unstructured and repetitive music that would have made Louis Armstrong or Count Basie cringe. But The Blues and Abstract Truth is a great example of what made jazz great.
In addition to Oliver Nelson -- one long note he holds on "Yearnin'" is so pure it'll bring tears to your eyes -- pay special attention to Bill Evans' piano, which really makes the whole thing gel. Just great.
It's the kind of music that you wish could go on all night, and so my one criticism is that the whole recording lasts just a little over 35 minutes. Luckily, my CD player has a function allowing it to be replayed when it finishes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary session lives up to reputation., April 7 2002
By 
Samuel Chell (Kenosha,, WI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
Oliver Nelson's name seems to be overlooked these days in comparison to that of other composer-arrangers of the period such as Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. This classic session should help set the record straight: he was every bit as much a dominant figure on his instrument (alto and tenor sax) as Mingus and well on his way to becoming one of the creative masters at combining a composer's ideas with the expressive strengths of the individual musicians in an ensemble. Besides highlighting Oliver's tunes, the album demonstrates why Freddie Hubbard is frequently referred to as "the man" on his instrument between Clifford and Wynton. And Bill Evans' inventive melodic lines establish him, at this time, as a player most ready to assume the mantle of the failing Bud Powell. On the other hand, to fully appreciate the structured melodic/harmonic tensions and individual sound of Oliver himself as a soloist, there are better choices than this album, namely some of his earlier work for the Prestige label.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The review of an abstract truth, Jan. 5 2002
By 
"wdmuskeyn" (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
Oliver Nelson has, like God and Moses on the mountaintop, revealed a glimpse of his musical genius to us in this beautiful recording. Nelson takes the 12-bar blues pattern and changes it right in front of us, suddenly transforming it into something with rich and dense musical qualities that is truly a reward to even the most serious listener.
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5.0 out of 5 stars jazz is chamber music, Aug. 11 2001
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
in saying that jazz is chamber music is somewhat aligned to the world of improvisation,and that it usually consists of a small group of musicians playing together.this is chamber music,unlike a complete orchestra.compositions can go towards different musical worlds,put together in a jazz mold.what was accomplished here was not rebuilding the blues but creating some abstract truth
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, You Can Judge an Album by Its Title (and Cover), June 7 2001
By 
"pslurie" (New York, New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
A mesmeric work by an unlikely leader. Oliver Nelson hadn't recorded anything that hinted at this achievement, and he didn't near it again. This may be Freddie Hubbard's finest moment, and Bill Evans and Paul Chambers are surpassing. The compositions are complex and accessible. As a special bonus, this edition has the strikingly original original cover art title, and the record is aptly and eloquently titled.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Island Material, March 29 2001
By 
Amazon Customer "pipcelot" (San Diego, California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
For me, this is one of the top 5 jazz albums ever made. The guys can play, but everyone knew that already. What makes this album such a treat is the music. The compositions are sophisticated, harmonically complex, and above all really pleasant music to hear. It is also fascinating to hear these musicians' different styles blend together so seamlessly. In that respect, the album reminds me of another desert island disc -- Somethin' Else by Cannonball Adderley's quintet (including Miles Davis and Hank Jones).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beatutifuly inspired performance, Aug. 11 2000
By 
Amazon Customer "jazzfanmn" (St Cloud, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blues And The Abstract Truth (Audio CD)
This cd is a classic session lead by Oliver Nelson's tenor, alto and fantastic arrangements. The group includes Eric Dolphy on flute and alto, Bill Evans on piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Paul Chambers on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. This album is highlighted by the inspired, masterful work of all those involved. The first track "Stolen Moments" is a beautiful example of Oliver's compositional skill, and is highlighted by a by Nelson's soulful tenor solo. Absolutely everyone is in top shape, check out the solos by Dolphy and Hubbard on "Yearnin'", they absolutely cook. This cd is a bonafide classic and is not to be missed.
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Blues And The Abstract Truth
Blues And The Abstract Truth by Oliver Nelson (Audio CD - 1995)
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