on 15 May 2003
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.)
on 30 June 2003
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.
on 17 June 2006
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.
This was the first Jazz album I ever bought, back in 1982. I bought it because I liked the title, it intrigued me - but when I heard the glory of the music - particularly the gorgeous opening track, 'Stolen Moments' - I was utterly smitten by the clarity of the sound (produced by Creed Taylor) the excellence of the musicianship and the atmosphere engendered by the album. It doesn't overstay it's welcome, is inarguably Oliver Nelson's high-water mark as a recording artist, and is a must-have for any Jazz fan - as essential as Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' or Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five'.
on 11 January 2016
Great, largely up-beat, big band jazz. Excellent improvisation within a solid song structure. The band features big jazz names such as Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard and Bill Evans. What could go wrong?
on 11 August 2016
There are absolutely no complaints about the music, this is definitely a five star album as previous reviews will tell you. However, he Hallmark release of this recording is clearly in mono rather than stereo. Now this may not bother you at all and on the plus side the sound quality and price are very good. The fact that nowhere on the product details page or CD itself does it mention that this is mono means the loss of one star in my opinion
A review of an album that was recorded more than fifty years ago, a CD that I have owned for yonks seems a bit late now, but I want to add my support for this masterpiece, advertised both here or in its remastered version.
The album was recorded in 1961 and features just six wonderful tracks, all composed and arranged by Oliver Nelson. Certainly two of the tracks have been recorded before: Stolen Moments and Yearnin', but the definitive interpretations are on this album.
Not only is the music original, sensitive, and almost "classical" in its perfection, but the seven musicians (often thought of as a sextet because George Barrow on baritone sax doesn't solo) is equally remarkable: Nelson (sx), Eric Dolphy (alto/flute), Freddie Hubbard (tp), Bill Evans (p), Paul Chambers (b), Roy Haynes (d). Everyone involved plays to perfection and the quality of the jazz is outstanding.
This is not a hard blowing album as such (although "Hoe Down" and "Cascades" are taken at quite a pace). Reading the notes by Nelson is extremely informative about the structure of the tunes, which as a non musician, seem quite complex.
Make no mistake this is one of the great jazz albums of all time, up there with "Kind Of Blue", "Shape Of Jazz To Come", "Time Out" etc. it is really a six star album!
on 13 July 2011
An essential album for anyone interested in the jazz of the period and a great early showcase for Eric Dolphy.
on 30 December 2015
Beautiful example of the genre. Really excellent value. Cheap postage, thanks
on 30 July 2016
Listen and enjoy the best of jazz.