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Sound Pieces

Oliver Nelson

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Album Review

This CD reissue features Oliver Nelson in two very different settings. Although best-known as an altoist and a tenor-saxophonist, Nelson sticks exclusively to soprano throughout the set. He leads a 20-piece big band on three of his compositions which, although interesting, are not overly memorable. Best are five other numbers (two of which were originally issued on the record Three Dimensions) that showcase Nelson's soprano playing with a quartet also includes pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist Ron Carter and drumer Grady Tate. Although one would not think of Nelson as a soprano stylist, his strong playing actually put him near the top of his field on such numbers as "The Shadow Of Your Smile," "Straight No Chaser" and his own "Patterns."

Biography

Born: June 04, 1932 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Oliver Nelson was a distinctive soloist on alto, tenor, and even soprano, but his writing eventually overshadowed his playing skills. He became a professional early on in 1947, playing with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra and with St. Louis big bands headed by George Hudson and Nat Towles. In 1951, he arranged and played second alto for Louis Jordan's big band, and followed with a period in the Navy and four years at a university. After moving to New York, Nelson worked briefly with Erskine Hawkins,...
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