“Full Nelson” looks at the 1960s studio big-band recordings of saxophonist, arranger, and composer Oliver Nelson, who would have turned 75 on June 4, 2007. Nelson is best-known in the jazz world for his small-group Impulse LP Blues and the Abstract Truth; outside of that world he’s been heard by many more people who don’t even know of him, through the scoring he did for 1960s and 1970s television shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man. Nelson died young, at the age of 43 in 1975, and many of his 1960s big-band records, which demonstrate the wide scope of his writing abilities, have been out of print. This program will draw on a recent Mosaic Records collection of those albums, including tracks from Full Nelson, Jazzhattan Suite, and Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of Jazz All Stars, as well as Nelson’s collaborations with artists such as Pee Wee Russell, Jimmy Smith, and Ray Brown and Milt Jackson.
Note: Nelson’s 1961 Prestige LP Afro-American Sketches will be included in a forthcoming program. The previous Night Lights program Dear Martin features several selections from Nelson’s Martin Luther King tribute album Black, Brown, and Beautiful.
Watch an edition of the Oliver Nelson big band featuring Gato Barbieri:
Nelson in a small-group setting circa 1966 with Art Farmer and Lee Konitz: