5 August 2006
OLIVER NELSON - SOUND PIECES
As a saxophonist, composer and arranger, Oliver Nelson was a prolific talent firmly rooted in jazz but equally skilled in pop vocal charts and television scoring.
His two greatest statements in jazz must be Blues and the Abstract Truth, which boasted astonishing small ensemble arrangements, Oliver's finest tunes and best tenor playing, and Sound Pieces, which gives us some of his best orchestral writing and some superb soprano saxophome work accompanied solely by a first class rhythm section.
As this album makes clear, Oliver has turned the soprano into a personal voice. It was because it reflected both the Nelson pragmatism and his delight in self-challenges. "Well, it's very compact and therefore easy to carry around. And then it's one of the most difficult instruments to play in terms of intonation. Also I sort of think high, so the soprano seems to fall naturally into what I do," Oliver Nelson said.
Throughout the album, it's absorbing to follow Oliver's own skill at thematic improvisation along with his sense of what would be called narrative drama and his command of dynamics. The evident pleasure Oliver experienced in playing at length is because he is a crisp, lucid improviser and brings a provacative individuality to the still underused soprano saxophone.
Review from VERVE/IMPULSE.
This album features the modal killers "Elegy for a Duck" and "Patterns"