Oliver Nelson - "Nocturne"

Oliver Nelson - "Nocturne" - Front Cover

Oliver Nelson • Nocturne • 1960 • Prestige Records (Moodsville Series)

The Players:
Oliver Nelson - Alto & Tenor Sax
Lem Winchester - Vibraphone
Richard Wyands - Piano
George Duvivier - Bass
Roy Haynes - Drums

The Tracks:
A1. Nocturne
A2. Bob's Blues
A3. Man With A Horn
A4. Early Morning
B1. In A Sentimental Mood
B2. Azur'te
B3. Time After Time

The Music:

Oliver Nelson will always be best known for his 1961 masterpiece The Blues And The Abstract Truth on Impulse!, but he also made some excellent records for Prestige in the years just preceding that release. One of the lesser known ones is Nocturne, an LP released on the Moodsville subset of Prestige in 1960. The album is co-credited to the somewhat obscure vibes player Lem Winchester, a former police officer whose talent led him to focus on jazz full time (I wasn't familiar with his work until recently, and he didn't record much due to a tragic handgun accident that ended his life in 1961 at age 32). His contributions to this record are impressive, as his solos complement the relaxed tone of the album perfectly. Nelson's smoky and full saxophone sound (he plays both tenor and alto) give the album a very late-night jazz club feel, I can certainly picture this group playing a NYC jazz club in the wee hours of the morning. While I don't know the pianist Richard Wyands, he is quite impressive here, and obviously the rhythm section of George Duvivier on bass and Roy Haynes on drums anchor the proceedings in fine fashion.

Oliver Nelson - "Nocturne" - Label

The Vinyl:

My LP is an original copy with the Prestige "Moodsville" deep-groove label. As the cover shows, this record has seen better days, and after a good cleaning it still plays with quite a bit of noise. I don't know what the "RW" stamp on the label is for (it's also on the back cover), but it is not uncommon to find early Prestige pressings with the same marking (I've looked all around, but no one seems to know what it represents). If I have one complaint with this pressing, is that the cover is rather bland, especially compared with the much hipper UK version of the album below.


Nocturne - UK Cover on Fontana