|All Artists: Oliver Nelson, King Curtis|
Title: Soul Battle
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 7/1/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 025218632522, 090204871421
Samuel Chell | 02/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The discerning listener will immediately realize that he or she has discovered a classic. Oliver Nelson is a musical architect of the first order. King Curtis's performance, to say the least, is a mind-blowing surprise. Jimmy Forrest is solid and steady. What else can you say. These three tenors came into the studio to memorialize what swinging is all about. If you can't get next to this cd, then you are just square!"
Exemplary--as instructive as it is inspiring.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 09/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very few of the recorded multi-tenor sessions begin to do justice to the experience of attending a live session featuring 3-4 boss tenors going after one another (a fairly common occurrence in Chicago throughout the sixties and seventies). Of the twenty or so recorded sessions I've heard, this one is the stand-out. Each player's style is sufficiently distinctive to make identification possible even for a serious neophyte, and each player represents a different era, or sub-genre, of the music. Nevertheless, common to all three is a commitment to go for broke and to keep it fiery and swinging at all times.
Although some listeners have disagreed with me, Oliver Nelson is simply sublime on each of his turns--a composer-arranger who thinks compositionally while he's improvising. His solos have a beginning, middle, and end--he uses tension-release techniques in his harmonies as well as his rhythmic phrasing (lots of repetition preceding the explosion). To some ears it's a bit too "far out," but stay with each Nelson solo. He never remains outside the harmonic form: eventually he'll reward the listener with satisfying closure but not before he's achieved that "climax" unique to his playing. (Just listen to his solo on "Mainstem" some time.)
This is a Prestige session, which is another big plus. Van Gelder is the recording engineer, but unlike his Blue Note sessions, the musicians have more influence on the proceedings, mic pickups, outcome. As a result, each of the horns is "present" without being overly hot or distorted (I've tried twice to listen to two different recordings of "A Blowin' Session" with Griffin, Coltrane and Mobley, but the audio is so frantic and loud it's hard to appreciate either the uniqueness of each player's "voice" or to stay with the substance of the solos.)
Everyone will have a favorite from "Soul Battle." I've never heard a more memorable "Perdido," thanks in part to Oliver's practically reinventing the tune during his solo.
To the listener who has the patience to listen carefully, another tenor exchange that's capable of yielding lasting rewards (and many playings) is "Tenor Conclave," with Mobley, Coltrane, Sims, and Cohn. It's a lot of notes to process, but if your mind is on the "language" of the music rather than mere sonic blast, it's a recording well worth the listener's, or musician's, time."