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The Blues And The Abstract Truth

Oliver Nelson Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Sep 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Grp
  • ASIN: B000025MRT
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,615 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth and beauty 15 May 2003
Format:Audio CD
This album is surely the stellar contribution of saxophonist and composer / arranger Oliver Nelson to the world of jazz; his most essential CD. Others have compared this session with Miles Davis's 'Kind of Blue', and the two have plenty in common: two of the musicians (Bill Evans on piano and Paul Chambers on bass) played on both sessions; more importantly, a unifying musical vision for the session, in this case the intention being to explore the relevance of the 12-bar blues form to modern jazz on 6 original Oliver Nelson compositions.
If that sounds like a slightly 'muso' objective (and for the non-muso, Oliver Nelson's liner notes may re-inforce that impression), then it does not affect the reality that the end result is a marvellous example of small-group jazz in both the compositional and improvisational fields, with outstanding solos from some of the greats - Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, the tragically short-lived Eric Dolphy (on saxophone and a great flute solo on 'Stolen Moments') and Nelson himself, often under-rated as a player.
Standout tracks are the opening 'Stolen Moments', which became a jazz standard, the playful 'Hoe-Down' and the tender 'Yearnin', but the (abstract) truth is that the tracks are all beautiful and that this is a jazz album that stands on its merits as an album or suite, because that is how it was conceived. A such, it belongs in any self-respecting jazz CD collection.
(Note: this album should not be confused with the patchy follow-up 'More Blues and the Abstract Truth', where Nelson did not play himself, where the musicians were not of the same calibre and where Nelson originals were mixed in with other compositions.)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Masterpiece 30 Jun 2003
Format:Audio CD
Where do you start with this album? It's melodic and beautifully arranged but has space for Eric Dolphy's twisted solos, it manages a bit of country jazz with 'Hoedown' without sounding trite, in short it's close to perfection. Oliver Nelson went on to work in more mainstream music but on this album he still had a real edge. With an ensemble including Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy and Freddie Hubbard this was the pinnacle of his involvement with jazz and one of the very best albums of its time. Frank Zappa even plays a note for note version of the standout Track 'Stolen Moments' on one of his live albums.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic by any Standard 17 Jun 2006
By Big A
Format:Audio CD
From the hauntingly beautiful opening bars of Stolen Moments right through to the last track, Teenie's Blues, this is a masterpiece. Freddie Hubbard is outstanding thoughout, exceptional on Yearnin', and Eric Dolphy's entrance on Butch and Butch just hooked me forever. Oliver Nelson was a superb tenor player, but it is without doubt his compositions and arrangements that stand out here. Man, did he understand the blues?! Listen to him on Stolen Moments...

As for Bill Evans, whose solos are never less than intelligent here, and Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes - they never intrude but complement perfectly.

Other 'classics' may - nay, HAVE paled with time though they have not given anything from their importance, but the key thing with this session is that it has never lost its freshness, which is what makes it outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Modern Jazz 13 July 2011
Format:Audio CD
An essential album for anyone interested in the jazz of the period and a great early showcase for Eric Dolphy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed 25 Feb 2000
By Tyler Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is one of those jazz recordings that managed to capture lightning -- that is to say, recording magic -- in a bottle. Its pacing is perfect, its arrangements sublime, and the first-rate players, all of whom would be worth listening to on their worst day, offer inspired work.
Nelson, a fine tenor player in his own right, is surrounded by extraordinary talent: Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes. But this is Nelson's album: not only does he play beautifully himself, he contributed the compositions and the arrangements, all of which have a note-perfect quality that could only be achieved by an artist in absolute command of his material.
Each tune is a joy in its own right, but the highlight for me (just ahead of the joyful "Hoedown") is "Stolen Moments," which has rightfully become a jazz standard. It's a tune that never fails to remind me of the difference between a true jazz composition and a blowing session. In the latter, solos are taken for their own sake. In "Stolen Moments," the solos are flawless, but each player extends on the previous statement. For example, the transition chord that Bill Evans plays between Oliver Nelson's solo and his own is a perfect reply that shows how carefully he was listening to Oliver's playing. The communication deepens the pleasure of listening to the performance.
Like Miles' "Kind of Blue" and a handful of other jazz albums, "Blues and the Abstract Truth" could be put into a vault for listeners a thousand years hence to find. I'm sure they'd be just as impressed as the rest of us have been.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All star jazz cast 2 Mar 2004
By Enrique Torres - Published on Amazon.com
Format: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 understand 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 Creed Taylor(not to be confused with Cecil Taylor, except by me:) 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.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous album 5 Sep 2005
By Bomojaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
One of those albums that over time has entered the legendary category - very much a landmark recording. STOLEN MOMENTS has not only become a jazz standard, but this initial recording of the tune is a masterpiece. Everything and everyone on it just clicks perfectly: Dolphy's solo on flute absolutely demands the listener's attention. And the other tunes are almost just as good, especially HOE-DOWN and CASCADES, both taken up tempo. The album was like a gust of fresh air when it first came out on LP in 1961, and it still sounds fresh today. One of those must-have CDs.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Magic 17 Aug 2004
By S. Finefrock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I can't count the number of times I've had this in my hands at a CD store or in my shopping cart online only to change my mind and go in some other direction. Now I feel like a fool. This moves into my top 10 jazz records with a bullet.

As other reviewers have stated, the All-Star lineup is without reproach. These guys are all top players on their respective instruments, recording in their prime. That is not to say that such a summit of talent ensures sublime results. There is definately magic involved in these performances, a certain simpatico between musicians that creates a work of great feeling and beauty. Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans and Freddie Hubbard all contribute with playing that ranks among the best of their highly successful careers. There is note a weak moment, let alone a weak track. Oliver Nelson's compositions and arrangements are amazing.

I wish that I had picked this up years ago, and I also wonder what some of the titles that I picked up in place of this were. I'm sure there were some good ones that I do not regret buying. I am happy that I now own this classic and wholeheartedly recommend to any other music fan.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this CD 16 Feb 2005
By John Conlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Just buy it, and hear the abstract, or should I say absolute, truth. I have at least 1000 jazz CDs. This is in my top 10. Kind of Blue is of course the rosetta stone, but this record can be spoken of in the same breath. Few others can even come close to this one!

Hundreds of years from now the United States will be described as having created quite a remarkable music, and Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, etc...will be mentioned as the inventors, and Oliver Nelson as one of the foremost musicians to follow in their giant footsteps. Mingus wrote a tune called "Better get Hit In Yo Soul"...This recording delivers a hit to your soul. Get hit!
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