Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)

Verve’s excellent Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series just re-released an impeccable and gorgeous-sounding new pressing of this LP.

Verve’s excellent Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series just re-released an impeccable and gorgeous-sounding new pressing of this LP (which has, pretty much, always been in print). When it arrived in the mail, I put it on for the first time in several years.

The music on this album needs no introduction. It’s one of the absolute classics of modern jazz, and so much has been written about it already. It doesn’t need me to add much, if anything. Still:

This was one of the first releases on the Impulse! jazz label, coming to take advantage of the brief moment of mainstream popularity for jazz in the late 50s and very early 60s. ”Stolen Moments” is the tune everyone knows—and, indeed, it needs little introduction—but the whole record is full of magical moments. The “Butch and Butch” head sounds like something you’d love to hear Bird play. The rhythm section is easily on par with any, at any time, ever. Eric Dolphy’s solo on“Yearnin” is very much worth hearing.

This is one of those records that reads like a murderer’s row of modern jazz greats. More than a few jazz obsessions began with tracking down other classic recordings by any or all of the musicians on this album: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Oliver Nelson (alto and tenor saxophone); Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute); George Barrow (baritone saxophone); Bill Evans (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); and Roy Haynes (drums).

At $33, the new pressing of The Blues and the Abstract Truth is a serious bargain, and it’ll be out of print and twice the price within a month or two at most. If you buy records, put this one on your list.

Enjoy.


Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)