OLIVER NELSON- THE KENNEDY DREAM

oliver-nelson-photo-jan-persson

I had Kennedy Dream: Originals on vinyl many years ago and recently happened upon some of the music posted on Youtube. It’s a really interesting record that features Nelson’s arrangements of original music inspired by the life and times of JFK. In addition to being a top notch saxophonist, Nelson who is best known for his classic record Blues & The Abstract Truth, was an in demand composer, arranger and producer who penned classic TV themes like The Six Million Dollar Man, Columbo and Ironside. The music from The Kennedy Dream has a highly polished movie theme music sheen to it, with lush orchestral instrumentation played by top notch musicians. Snippets of Kennedy’s recorded speeches are used as song introductions. I like this record a lot. Phil Woods, who does much of the soloing, is fantastic. Anyway, As I listened to the song “The Artist’s Rightful Place” on Youtube, I couldn’t help but thinking that I’d played the melody in the past. It turns out that I had. It’s an exercise from Nelson’s book PATTERNS FOR IMPROVISATION. I loved playing through all those hip exercises back in the day! I think the book came before the record. Maybe Mr. Nelson was going through a bout of writer’s block and decided to lift his own material… A JFK sound bite begins “The Artist’s Rightful Place”. It’s a pretty powerful sentiment and brings to mind the poet/ activist Amiri Baraka who just recently passed… (Later) The melody of another song from the record, “Let The Word Go Forth”, is from exercise 44…

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PATTERNS FOR IMPROVISATION Ex. 79
ONelson Patterns For Improvisation

03. March 2014 by james
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