Personnel: Oliver Nelson (saxophone); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Ray Bryant (piano); Wendell Marshall (bass); Arthur Taylor (drums).
Personnel: Oliver Nelson (tenor saxophone); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Ray Bryant (piano); Art Taylor (drums).
Liner Note Author: Jack Maher .
Recording information: Englewood Cliffs, NJ (10/30/1959); Nj (10/30/1959).
Photographer: Esmond Edwards.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Kenny Dorham; Ray Bryant; Art Taylor; Wendell Marshall.
Though largely remembered for his skills as an arranger, Oliver Nelson was also an accomplished tenor saxophonist. Nelson's debut album is a classic late-1950s bop date that features four of his originals and two ballads--Bob Haggart's "What's New?" and a sultry, smoky take on Billy Strayhorn's "Passion Flower." Flanked by a sharp rhythm section that includes Arthur Taylor on drums, Wendell Marshall on bass, and Ray Bryant on piano, Nelson puts his tenor chops on display and trades leads with trumpeter Kenny Dorham (who is playing at the top of his game here).
The interplay between Dorham and Nelson is laid-back and congenial, but always technically precise. Nelson, in particular, plays with a powerful lyricism that bears traces of Lester Young, yet his tone is fuller and brighter than Young's, and his vocabulary is markedly post-bop. There is fine playing all around, particularly on in-the-cut blues numbers ("Jams and Jellies") and up-tempo bop workouts ("Don't Stand Up"). An additional bonus--the sound on this excellent disc is polished to a high sheen, thanks to the engineering of Rudy Van Gelder.