LIVE SESSION ONE

Project Info:

STEVE NELSON, VIBES

BOBBY WATSON, ALTO S.

DONALD BROWN, PIANO

CURTIS LUNDY, BASS

VICTOR LEWIS, DRUMS

  Review   by Ken Dryden  

This date features a quintet co-led by alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, but most of the CD is devoted to the hard-hitting vibraphonist's compositions. "New Beginning" serves as a thunderous introduction to the quintet, which features pianist Donald Brown, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis as well. Watson contributed the tasty low-key ballad "Quiet as It Is Kept," and a long, very intense workout of "Afro Blue" serves as the focal point, with everyone in top form.

 

REVIEWS by Ken Dryden - All Music

Vibraphonist Steve Nelson began his career during the seventies, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, following the straight ahead path blazed by his first major influence, Milt Jackson. After a year with guitarist Grant Green he was playing and recording with his Rutgers professors James Spaulding and Kenny Barron, before landing a spot in David “Fathead” Newman’s quintet. Throughout the eighties Nelson was the vibists of choice among some of his generation’s most talented up-and-comers, including Bobby Watson, Curtis Lundy, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown, Geoffrey Keezer and Lewis Nash, developing a harmonically open sound, influenced by the innovations of Bobby Hutcherson, that led him to a spot in Dave Holland’s award winning band. In between he’s recorded a half dozen dates as a leader that showcase his own personal voice on the vibes.

AllAboutJazz: There have been so few vibraphonists in jazz; what first attracted you to the instrument?

Steve Nelson: Well, actually, there are probably more vibists than you think there are, first of all. I mean everywhere I go, at least since I’ve been traveling so much with Dave Holland, I actually meet— in every town that I go to—a few vibists. I guess compared to the other instruments there’s not so many vibists, but there seems to be more and more coming around these days.

But anyway, I actually got into the vibes because a young guy that I used to hang around with in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I was born and grew up—his father actually played the vibes. He was one of those kind of guys that existed then [laughs], at that time, I guess it was the seventies or something, who lived in a town like Pittsburgh and played and was a great player, but was raising a family, worked in the steel mills, etc., etc., so he never came to New York, but was a tremendous vibraphone player. So, I actually heard him play and that’s how I fell in love with the instrument. His name is George Monroe. I actually dedicated a song to him on one of my records called George A—“Blues For George A,” and that’s how I got started—through hearing him play.

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