Oliver Nelson – Screamin’ the Blues – Prestige

by | Jan 8, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Oliver Nelson – Screamin’ the Blues – Prestige 8243, 39:54 *****:

(Oliver Nelson, tenor & alto sax; Richard Williams, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto sax & bass clarinet; Richard Wyands, piano; George Duvivier, bass; Roy Haynes, drums)

Oliver Nelson’s 1960 Prestige session, Screamin’ the Blues, has always been my favorite small group Nelson led session. As one of the latest issues of RVG remasters for the Concord Group’s Prestige reissue series, it is truly cause for celebration. Richard Williams, the trumpeter on this session never got his due in his relatively short recording career. He had only one session as a leader, Candid’s A New Horn in Town. He also appeared on several Gigi Gryce albums and did some big band work. Much appreciated by the hard bop hardcore, his warm yet aggressive tone is well presented here. He ranks with prime 1960s Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan. Screamin’ the Blues is also noteworthy for a relatively straight ahead appearance of Eric Dolphy. The rhythm section of Richard Wyands, George Duvivier, and Roy Haynes is A+ quality as usual.

Song selection fits the CD’s title aptly, a mixture of blues/gospel/ hard bop that made Prestige King of the Hill in the 1960s along with Blue Note Records. The nearly eleven minute title track is sonic heaven with Williams sharing solo duty with Dolphy and Nelson. Their “scream” is one of ecstasy. Esmond Edwards’ March On, March On continues the hard bop bliss and is so blistering that your listening room walls may need a touch-up. It’s followed by the go-to-church gospel of Nelson’s The Meetin’. Three Seconds has an opening vamp reminiscent of Nelson’s classic Stolen Moments, before Dolphy enters and pushes the hard bop envelope a bit. This CD masterpiece is closed with an alto battle between Nelson and Dolphy on Alto-Itis.

I can’t recommend this remastered CD highly enough! It is a Must Buy both for the sonics and the mind blowing music. It tops my list so far of the RVG Prestige series. This is a definite five star issue!

Tracklist: Screamin’ the Blues, March On, March On, The Drive, The Meetin’,Three Seconds, Alto-Itis

– Jeff Krow

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