The Blues and the Abstract Truth at 45
It was recorded in 1961 by Rudy Van Gelder, for the Impulse! label, and featured a stellar cast of players: Nelson, alto sax; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, reeds and flute; Bill Evans, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; and Roy Haynes, drums.
The highlight is the first track, “Stolen Moments,” as thrillingly cool as Miles Davis’ “So What” (the starter to Kind of Blue, released two years earlier) and similar in feeling: a slow blues theme blown in unison by the band, followed by each player carving elegant variations in solo—Dolphy’s and Hubbard’s in a fleet simmer, Nelson’s almost noble in its simplicity.
A few “audiophile” reissues have come out over the years, in vinyl and aluminum, but this is the first that comes close to the wondrous sonics of the original black-and-orange pressing. The bass isn’t quite as woody, the cymbals not quite as shimmering, the horns not quite as 3D—but, again, it comes very close.
If you can find the original for under $50, congratulations. (I paid $40 for mine 25 years ago.) If you can’t, get this, without regrets.