Posterity remembers Oliver Nelson (1932-1975) primarily as an arranger/conductor. When he first began to attract attention with a series of albums for Prestige and its subsidiaries, however, Nelson was hailed as a versatile leader of small groups and a composer/instrumentalist who could refresh the music’s traditional verities while also looking ahead. There is no better showcase for these skills among his initial sessions than Screamin’ the Blues, a rousing set of funky modernism interpreted by a sextet of players who shared Nelson’s allegiance to both virtuosity and vision. The pairing of saxophonist Eric Dolphy with Nelson was particularly inspired as both men were adept on more than one instrument, and allowed this sextet to create an uncommon diversity of colors. Nelson and Dolphy would reunite a year later on both the classic Blues and the Abstract Truth and (with the band heard here minus trumpeter Richard Williams) on the looser yet intense Straight Ahead.
with Richard Williams, Eric Dolphy, Richard Wyands, George Duvivier, Roy Haynes
"I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger."
—Rudy Van Gelder