An excellent but obscure jazz recording that I highly recommend is the 1961 classic, The Blues and the Abstract Truth which is a recording made up of different compositional variations on the blues and rhythm changes forms by the St. Louis born sax player, Oliver Nelson. If you have never heard of Oliver Nelson, you might have heard of the side men on this CD: Bill Evans, Roy Haynes, Eric Dolphy, Paul Chambers, and Freddie Hubbard. If you haven’t heard of any one of those guys, it’s ok, but you have a lot to learn about the history of jazz.
I obtained this gem, thanks to my sister-in-law, Rinnie, who gave it to me for my birthday. Rinnie, I’m sure you have several copies of this one lying around at home, and you just knew that the obvious gift for a church musician’s 26th birthday would be anything by Oliver Nelson. Seriously, Rinnie, thanks for the CD!
Anyway, I was reading the linear notes that came with the CD which were penned by Nelson for the original release, and he says some really cool stuff about his influences that goes along with some stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. (See previous posts, “Interview” and “Letter”)
Describing his frame of mind while he was preparing for this recording, Nelson says that at that time John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins had been a big influence on his playing. But, then He goes on to say this:
It was not until this LP was recorded … that I finally had broken through and realized that I would have to be true to myself, to play and write what I think is vital and, most of all, to find my own personality and identity. This does not mean that a musician should reject and shut things out. It means that he should learn, listen, absorb, and grow but retain all things that comprise the identity of the individual himself.
The Blues and The Abstract Truth