Arranger and alto saxophonist Oliver Nelson’s “Swiss Suite” is recognised as his last major jazz work. His death four years later robbed jazz of one of its finest composers, while success writing for film and TV had kept him away from jazz in the intervening years. Nelson had risen to prominence with “Blues And The Abstract Truth”, one of the first crossover jazz albums of the 1960s, before becoming an in-demand arranger and the composer of themes for Ironside, Six Million Dollar Man and others. He joined Flying Dutchman Records in 1969 and two years later appeared as the opening act at a night celebrating the label at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. This album captures that performance. The aptly named title track, a showcase for lead saxophonists Gato Barbieri, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Nelson himself, was composed specifically for the event, which also featured reprisals of three of his favourite older pieces, including the celebrated ‘Stolen Moments’. This reissue marks the album’s first appearance on digital release.
By Dean Rudland