Although these three Oliver Nelson albums don't have the exact same personnel, I consider them all sisters, and classics. This one (Blues and the Abstract Truth), Screamin' the Blues, and Straight Ahead. All three of these are essential, in my opinion. Yes Abstract is the one that gets more press, but if you haven't heard Screamin' and Straight Ahead, you are missing some excellent music.
Stolen Moments and Yearnin' are what I would consider to be the two legendary melodies here, but the whole album is packed full of greatness. Yearnin' is also interesting to me because in a way, it has some of my least favorite Dolphy playing. The melody is beautiful, but when Dolphy enters his solo he does so in an abrasive way that really doesn't fit the song. In a sense, he shatters the mood of the song. It's odd to hear this from him. Then one song later he enters his solo in epic fashion. It's one of my all-time favotite Dolphy moments.
If you're anything like me, every time you listen to one of these three Nelson albums you'll wonder to yourself why Nelson himself isn't more often thought of as one of the best tenor players ever. His tone is so gorgeous and his playing is creative and emotional. He almost never fails to move me and surprise me. He could have been the best tenor player in any church in America.
As usual, Chambers and Haynes are right on, always. They propel this band like only the greats can do. I can't help but think that no bass player ever, aside from maybe James Jamerson (Motown), played on more legendary sessions than Paul.
Also, I love the quality of this recording. The tones are so full and rich, and there is an almost magical glow around every note. This is one of those albums where it all came together.
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