Oliver Nelson: More Blues And The Abstract Truth (1964) Impulse

Playing catch-up, I somehow missed posting first time around this title, more Oliver Nelson on Impulse, More Blues….and the Abstract Truth AS-75. I’m not sure what “Abstract Truth” means in this context, but it sure sounds intellectually impressive, so let’s have more of it. Lights! Camera! Abstract Truth! ..and…Action!…

Selection: Theme from “Mr Broadway” (Dave Brubeck)

.  .  .

Artists

Thad Jones, Daniel Moore, trumpet; Phil Woods, alto sax; Ben Webster, tenor sax #1,3; Phil Bodner, tenor sax, English horn; Pepper Adams, baritone sax; Roger Kellaway, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Grady Tate, drums; Oliver Nelson, arranger, conductor. Recorded Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 10, 1964

Music

Billed as a follow-up to Nelson’s 1961 triumph The Blues And The Abstract Truth, (Impulse A-5, including Bill Evans!), it doesn’t quite scale the same heights, but it is a thoroughly listenable offering, which has its moments (if not Stolen Moments). Ben Webster, Phil Woods, Thad Jones and Pepper Adams add their distinctive voices to the ensemble, with Nelson’s arranging skills well on display. Mixed in with the jazz heavyweights are relatively unknown and rising stars Roger Kellaway (piano) Phil Bodner (tenor)  Daniel Moore (trumpet) together with the well-seasoned hands of Grady Tate and Richard Davis.

My selection is the sassy-brassy romp, Theme For Mr Broadway. “Mr. Broadway” was a 13-episode CBS adventure and drama television series, shot on location in New York City, aired in 1964, with music and theme written by Dave Brubeck.

A welcome change from highly-paid lawyers, the series was based on the misadventures of the clientele of a highly-paid PR executive, Mike Bell – played by Craig Stevens, a highly-paid TV and Film actor best known for his cool laid back and no doubt highly-paid private eye, Peter Gunn (1958-60), music by highly-paid composer/arranger Henry Mancini. The only poorly-paid people here were the TV show viewers.

Mr Broadway was aired between September 26 and December 26, 1964. The session recording two Mr Broadway tunes for Impulse was held on November 10, 1964, smack in the middle of the TV series on air. Coincidence, or outstanding product placement? Jazz on the record turntable , and jazz on the TV screen, all from the Blue Note and Impulse years. Strange how  some music has lasted, to this day still fresh, while its contemporaneous entertainment hasn’t.

Gatefold

There is always a twinge of excitement when laying hands on a laminated Impulse gatefold, often followed by a large dose of disappointment on finding the record inside is a much later 70’s issue. The same gatefold cover usually spans both the first and second Impulse issues, as here. It looks very good.

Vinyl: Impulse AS-75 second issue black/ red rim label circa 1968, Van Gelder Stereo stamp.

 

 

Collector’s Corner

The first stereo issue labels are of course orange/black rim (1964) which I don’t have.

There is precious difference to my ear between a first and a second issue using the same Van Gelder master and metal. A big difference of course to the First Pressing Fundamentalists, who have their own values.

I have both the UK EMI mono and stereo “1st UK Issues”  and they both sound pale in comparison to the Van Gelder sourced master. First pressing doesn’t include first British  pressing, unless original metal used, which, in the voice of Professor Henry Higgins to Mary Poppins –  ‘ardly ever ‘appened.. .

Speaking of England, I missed out on last weekend’s Record Store Day, with its Resonance Records release of Bill Evans in England – 1969  (Live at Ronnie Scotts). It was raining, and long queues had formed outside my Soho record stores, on past form, dealers waiting to relist the items on Ebay. This  dampened my enthusiasm. Anyone any thoughts on this Evans release? Was it worth a half hour queuing in the rain for?

As a footnote, thank you for helping LJC reach my next milestone, four million page-views, any time soon.

LJC

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10 thoughts on “Oliver Nelson: More Blues And The Abstract Truth (1964) Impulse

  1. Bill Evans: Some Other Time on Resonance is quite a nicely recorded CD set. Typical Bill Evans, just gorgeous playing. I was less enamored with Bill Evans: Top of the Gate on Resonance.

  2. Perhaps mistakenly, and I’m sure not based on ever having listened to the whole LP, this is one of those records that for approaching fifty years I have always had mentally filed under: more is less…

    Perhaps that’s wrong, but there’s nothing that is now likely to change my mind…

  3. The Bill Evans Resonance RSD vinyl release is of very acceptable sound quality and accurately captures the ambience of what it was like to witness an Evans trio from a central front row table at Scotts’ (speaking from experience, I caught Evans from one of these tables for a couple of sets back in 1980).

    The recording was apparently done by stealth with a single microphone just below the stage into a recorder under the table cloth. With that limitation taken into account, the results far exceed expectation with very acceptable sonics. Marty Morrell’s cymbals are fairly crisp and Eddie Gomez’s bass work nice and clear. All in all, a bit of a miracle.

  4. For the past couple of years I have bought the Resonance RSD vinyl issues from Jazz Messengers in Barcelona, they always had copies left at the end of the day. Free shipping, too! I haven’t listened to the Bill Evans yet, it just arrived yesterday.

    • A season RSD buyer, bravo, Klaus.

      My first Resonance encounter was last year’s Cannonball Adderley Live in Seattle 1966, I think mono, because the house DJ who recorded it did so with just one mic, so bootleg quality, nothing Resonance could do to make up for a poor choice of source. Perhaps they thought no-one wouldn’t notice, because they got wound up in the hype of production, and they didn’t notice the poor quality of the source.

      There have been many fine recordings at Ronnie Scotts over the decades, so I would have higher expectation of the Evans session being a proper “studio quality” recording.

      Share any observations, thanks..

  5. I agree that the title is misleading but I think the first “Truth” album was a one off for Nelson . None of his other albums have the iconic status that that one has so the “More Truth” needs to be seen in the light of his ” normal” output. In that light it is a good ,middle of the road outing with some wonderful bass lines from Richard Davis ( Blue O’Mighty for example, I can just listen to his lines all the way through and how about that “Major Dennis Bloodnok” entrance by Pepper Adams on the same track ,WOW! ) . 2 other tracks from this session were released on the Definitive Jazz Scene 2 and 3 ( Woods ballads) Finally , why did Nelson write the title track for the original “Truth” and perform it on “More Truth” ???

  6. The ‘Blues and the Abstract Truth’ is a milestone album, which upon its release was very well received by the public and the critics. For some unknown reason, after a while they re-packaged the album with a new sleeve design. The second issue was also laminated and the labels orange/black.
    When the follow-up album was issued under the misleading title ‘ More Blues…etc, the deception was great. No comparison with the previous issue. Not a complete fraud, but still nothing special and definitely not exciting.

  7. “There is always a twinge of excitement when laying hands on a laminated Impulse gatefold, often followed by a large dose of disappointment on finding the record inside is a much later 70’s issue.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Also, I was more interested in the previous Bill Evans RSD release, but that’s proved to be elusive. I never realised there were so many Bill Evans fans in my neck of the woods.

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