A true pioneering musician/composer/arranger Oliver Nelson is a name and a sound that I wish more were familiar with. In the late 60’s and early 70’s and for the most part today there were very few Black Composers working in the Film and Television Industry. Quincy Jones was one and Oliver Nelson was the other to find consistent work.

Over his storied career Oliver Nelson played in the bands of Louis Jordan and the aforementioned Quincy Jones as well as, served as the house arranger for the Apollo. Nelson was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where he studied composition and theory. In 1967 Oliver moved to Los Angeles where he secured scoring duties for the TV shows Ironside, Night Gallery, Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man and Longstreet and the films Death of a Gunfighter and Last Tango in Paris.

Oliver Nelson died in 1975 at the age of 43 from a heart attack. I wanted to post two of his most famous compositions today in tribute to a musical hero of mine.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.

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