The Blues and the Abstract Truth
|The Blues and the Abstract Truth|
Mono LP cover (A-5)/1995 US CD issue
|Studio album by Oliver Nelson|
|Recorded||February 23, 1961
Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
|Oliver Nelson chronology|
(Original Lp release)
The Blues and the Abstract Truth is a jazz album by American jazz saxophonist Oliver Nelson recorded in February 1961. It remains Nelson's most acclaimed album and features a lineup of notable musicians: Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy (his second-to-last appearance on a Nelson album following a series of collaborations recorded for Prestige), Bill Evans (his only appearance with Nelson), Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes. Baritone saxophonist George Barrow does not take solos, but still remains a key feature in the subtle voicings of Nelson's arrangements.
The album is an exploration of the mood and structure of the blues, though only some of the tracks are structured in the conventional 12-bar blues form. In this regard, it may be seen as a continuation of the trend towards greater harmonic simplicity and subtlety via reimagined versions of the blues that was instigated by Miles Davis's Kind of Blue in 1959 (Evans and Chambers played on both albums).
Among the pieces on the album, "Stolen Moments" is the best known: a sixteen-bar piece in an eight-six-two pattern, even though the solos are in a conventional 12-bar minor-key blues structure in C minor. "Hoe-Down" is built on a forty-four-bar structure (with thirty-two-bar solos based on "rhythm changes"). "Cascades" modifies the traditional 32-bar AABA form by using a 16-bar minor blues for the A section, stretching the form to a total of 56 bars. The B-side of the album contains three tracks that hew closer to the 12-bar form: "Yearnin'", "Butch and Butch" and "Teenie's Blues" (which opens with two 12-bar choruses of bass solo by Chambers).
Nelson's later album, More Blues and the Abstract Truth (1964), features an entirely different (and larger) group of musicians and bears little resemblance to this record.
Writing in the December 21, 1961 issue of Down Beat magazine jazz critic Don DeMicheal commented: "Nelson's playing is like his writing: thoughtful, unhackneyed, and well constructed. Hubbard steals the solo honors with some of his best playing on record. Dolphy gets off some good solos too, his most interesting one on "Yearnin'."
The composition "Stolen Moments" has been recorded and performed by numerous musicians including Phil Woods, J.J. Johnson, Frank Zappa, Ahmad Jamal, Booker Ervin, the United Future Organization and the Turtle Island Quartet.
- All tracks composed by Nelson.
- "Stolen Moments" – 8:46
- "Hoe-Down" – 4:43
- "Cascades" – 5:32
- "Yearnin'" – 6:24
- "Butch and Butch" – 4:35
- "Teenie's Blues" – 6:33
- Oliver Nelson – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
- Eric Dolphy – flute, alto saxophone
- George Barrow – baritone saxophone
- Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
- Bill Evans – piano
- Paul Chambers – bass
- Roy Haynes – drums
- Palmer, Richard (1990). "The Nelson Touch". Jazz Journal International (London): 10.
- Down Beat: December 21, 1961 Vol. 28, No. 26
- Nastos, Michael G. "The Blues and the Abstract Truth: review" AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- Oliver E. Nelson: Liner notes from Impulse! A-5, March 1961
- Rob Tannenbaum (August 4, 2009). "Tasty! Steely Dan Brings the Guitar Solos, Male Ponytails". vulture.com. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Electra Records album number 6E-241