Nelson, Oliver

Oliver Edward Nelson was born on June 4, 1932 in St. Louis, into a musical family, as is often the case with jazz greats. His brother was a saxophonist who played with Cootie Williams and his sister was a singing pianist as well. He began to learn piano as a child, moving on to saxophone a few years later, and eventually played in what were then called “territory bands” in the St. Louis area. Johnny Hodges was his idol and he worked hard at becoming proficient at the alto saxophone before joining Louis Jordan’s big band as an altoist and arranger as the 1950s began. During the bulk of the decade he served in the Marines in the Far East and then returned to St. Louis to study music. It was during these years that he was exposed to many kinds of music, apparently being especially moved by the Tokyo Philharmonic, and his endlessly curious and fertile mind was stimulated to begin creating what would be some of the greatest music in jazz history.

The next few years were extremely productive, as Nelson spent a lot of time in New York City, working as the house arranger at the legendary Apollo Theater, playing with Erskine Hawkins, Wild Bill Davis, Louie Bellson, Quincy Jones, and briefly with Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and leading several small group sessions for Prestige, which featured greats such as Kenny Dorham, Eric Dolphy, Roy Haynes, and others. His growing mastery of writing and arranging led to what was to become his crowning achievement, 1961's The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

When one listens to this timeless, phenomenal album, the beauty of Stolen Moments, the first and most famous track, instantly captivates, and starts the listener on a journey that is rarely equaled in the canon of jazz. The style and harmonies used on this record became Nelson's trademarks, combining rare originality and developing brilliance. As amazing as the compositions and orchestrations are, one is also enthralled by the lineup that seemingly only Oliver Nelson could assemble: Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Roy Haynes, with George Barrow on baritone. A true all-star lineup; incredible virtuosity and diversity of styles, and with everyone in their prime. Building a lineup like this speaks to Oliver Nelson's ambition and dedication to creating truly unique and original sounds. Jazz Lines Publications is extraordinarily proud to publish this record's arrangements in their entirety, engraved from the original arrangements hand-written by Oliver Nelson.

Later in 1961 he recorded Afro-American Sketches, his first full recording of original big band material, exploring racial and political themes which would always mean a great deal to him. In 1967 he recorded the ambitious Musical Tribute to John F. Kennedy: The Kennedy Dream, a big band recording devoted to J.F.K. and using excepts of his speeches.

During the 1960s he continued to create ambitious soundscapes as a leader as well as for others in the jazz world, as his talents had become incredibly in demand. He arranged for Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Johnny Hodges, Buddy Rich, Stanley Turrentine, Irene Reid, Gene Ammons, and others. Jazz Lines Publications has published some of his works that were done for Wes Montgomery as well as six of the songs he arranged for Thelonious Monk's big band album of 1968, which remain of singular importance as big band versions of some of Monk’s most beloved compositions. Jazz Lines Publications also plans to publish the arrangements of from Peter and the Wolf as recorded by Jimmy Smith.

Nelson moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, aspiring to break into the lucrative world of movie and TV scoring. He continued to perform and write in both the small group and big band formats, and also worked with such mainstream stars as Nancy Wilson, James Brown, the Temptations, and Diana Ross. His film and television work became more and more time-consuming, as his creativity, speed, and capacity for work were legendary. He is perhaps best-known in this idiom for his creation of the hugely well-known theme from the Six Million Dollar Man, but he worked on Columbo, Ironside, and many other projects as well, and also arranged Gato Barbieri's music for the film Last Tango in Paris.

Sadly, the pace and volume of his work during this period most likely contributed to the decline of his health, and in one of jazz's greatest tragedies, he passed away suddenly in late October 1975 at the very young age of 43. While the press reports claimed it was a heart attack, Kenny Berger cites Oliver Nelson, Jr. as claiming it was actually pancreatitis. He also left a great educational legacy, which is embodied by his landmark book Patterns for Improvisation. It is an exhaustive collection of improvisational jazz patterns in various meters and feels with his comments and suggestions, and it is a very popular book because it helps spell out some of the basic building blocks of the 'jazz language.'

Oliver Nelson was a musician whose work was beloved by jazz fans and also by his peers and the general public. So many of the era's greatest musicians clamored for his arranging skills. Hollywood and television treasured his amazing compositional and arranging abilities on multiple levels - not only could he create memorable scores and soundtracks, but he could do it in the grueling time frame required by that genre. His compositions were always unique, and often his style is instantly recognizable. He was grounded in the blues, but heavily influenced by classical music as well. He used whatever instruments and doubles that were necessary to bring to life the complex orchestrations he heard in his head; it has been said that his writing was very demanding on musicians, using various clarinets and flutes, oboe, English horn-whatever it took to carry out his complex visions.

He composed for small ensemble and big band; he wrote symphonic works and authored a seminal jazz text; he wrote for film and television and worked with some of the biggest stars in the American musical pantheon. He did it all, and he did it all before he was even 44 years old. This was a true renaissance man of music, and one the world sadly misses, but one who left an incredibly rich, broad, and diverse catalog behind, which contains something for everyone. His music is majestic, beautiful, and powerful; it moves, enlightens, and educates; and perhaps most telling of all, it challenges not only the listener and the student, but also some of the greatest musicians in the world as well. Oliver Nelson is a giant figure in American music, and Jazz Lines Publications is proud to have the honor of publishing some of his most important creations.

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JAZZHATTAN SUITE: COMPLETE SIX ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by the Jazz Interactions Orchestra

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1041

$305.00

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View: KENNEDY DREAM, THE

KENNEDY DREAM, THE

Composed and Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared for Publication by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7299

$300.00

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KENNEDY DREAM, THE [DOWNLOAD]

Composed and Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared for Publication by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7299DL

$300.00

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MORE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH COMPLETE FOUR CHART COMBO SET

Recorded by Oliver Nelson

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof

Four Jazz Combo Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1054

$175.00

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MORE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH COMPLETE FOUR CHART COMBO SET [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Oliver Nelson

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof

Four Jazz Combo Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1054DL

$175.00

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OLIVER NELSON BIG BAND: TEN ARRANGEMENT SET

Specially-Priced Multi-Arrangement Sets

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Ten Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Sierra Music

SMP-ON10

$470.00

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View: OLIVER NELSON'S THE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH: COMPLETE SET
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OLIVER NELSON'S THE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH: COMPLETE SET

Recorded by Oliver Nelson

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Small Group Arrangements [4 Horns with Rhythm Section]

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8890

$285.00

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View: OLIVER NELSON'S THE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH: COMPLETE SET [DOWNLOAD]
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OLIVER NELSON'S THE BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH: COMPLETE SET [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Oliver Nelson

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Small Group Arrangements [4 Horns with Rhythm Section]

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-8890DL

$285.00

More Info
View: PETER AND THE WOLF

PETER AND THE WOLF

Recorded by Jimmy Smith

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof, Rob DuBoff, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7400

$350.00

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PETER AND THE WOLF - SCORE ONLY [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Jimmy Smith

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof, Rob DuBoff, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement
***Score Only***

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7400SDL

$100.00

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View: PETER AND THE WOLF [DOWNLOAD]
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PETER AND THE WOLF [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Jimmy Smith

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof, Rob DuBoff, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7400DL

$350.00

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THELONIOUS MONK BIG BAND JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE SET OF SIX ARRANGEMENTS

Recorded by the Thelonious Monk Big Band

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1003

$345.00

More Info
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THELONIOUS MONK BIG BAND JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE SET OF SIX ARRANGEMENTS [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by the Thelonious Monk Big Band

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1003DL

$345.00

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WES MONTGOMERY JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE FOUR ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Wes Montgomery

Arranged by Oliver Nelson and Johnny Pate

Four Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1035

$200.00

More Info
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WES MONTGOMERY JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE FOUR ARRANGEMENT SET [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Wes Montgomery

Arranged by Oliver Nelson and Johnny Pate

Four Jazz Big Band Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1035DL

$200.00

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View: 125TH AND 7TH AVENUE
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125TH AND 7TH AVENUE

Recorded by the Jazz Interactions Orchestra

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7097

$75.00

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125TH AND 7TH AVENUE [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by the Jazz Interactions Orchestra

Arranged by Oliver Nelson, Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7097DL

$75.00

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3-2-1-0

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Sierra Music

SMP-393

$55.00

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ARTIST'S RIGHTFUL PLACE, THE

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Sierra Music

SMP-395

$55.00

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ARTISTS' RIGHTFUL PLACE, THE

Movement 5 from The Kennedy Dream

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7088

$75.00

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ARTISTS' RIGHTFUL PLACE, THE [DOWNLOAD]

Movement 5 from The Kennedy Dream

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-7088DL

$75.00

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BACK WOODS

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Sierra Music

SMP-390

$55.00

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BALLAD FOR BENNY

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Sierra Music

SMP-377

$50.00

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BERLIN BEI NACHT

As Recorded by Oliver Nelson

Arranged by Oliver Nelson

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Sierra Music

SMP-1241

$50.00

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