The John L. Nelson Project - Don’t Play With Love

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2018 release

Unless you’re a dedicated Prince fan or an attentive reader of album liner notes, John L. Nelson’s name may not ring a bell, but there’s a good chance you’ve heard some of his tunes.

A jazz pianist who named his son after his stage name (Prince Rogers), Nelson shared songwriting credits on a handful of tracks on albums like “Purple Rain,” ″Around the World In a Day” and “Parade.”

Although he passed away in 2001, Nelson’s daughter and Prince’s half-sister, Sharon, rediscovered some sheet music with her father’s handwritten charts that she’d kept since the late 1970s. A belated tribute to his 100th birthday — Nelson was born in 1916 — “Don’t Play With Love” is a clear, straightforward and worthy jazz collection that stands on its own merits.

The album’s family ties go even deeper, as the elder Nelson’s nephew, famed drummer Louis Hayes — best known for his work with Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley — anchors the band. Pianist Rick Germanson, Vincent Herring (saxophone), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Dezron Douglas (bass) and a string quartet conducted by Adi Yeshaya interpret the seven compositions with verve and style.

Album opener “Lucky Am I” sounds like the theme from a 1960s detective series and has, similarly to the title track, a spacious, cinematic quality. It’s probably no coincidence Prince included his father’s compositions mostly on his soundtracks.

“Don’t Play With Love” is a lush ballad with a dizzying closing sax solo, while “Heart of Mine” could make a city rooftop tanning session feel like day at Copacabana Beach. Closer “Step Back” has a deep, soulful groove with engaging solos from the whole band.

Despite the Prince connection — it was recorded at Paisley Park, though after his death — the album needs no nepotistic boost. It just swings, baby!

 

Don’t Play With Love consists of Producer Sharon L. Nelson, co-producer Charles F. Spicer Jr., plus musicians led by legendary jazz drummer Louis Hayes (nephew of John L. Nelson), pianist/arranger Rick Germanson, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and bassist Dezron Douglas. The NorthStar Group’s Chairman and prominent attorney L. Londell McMillan serves as the Executive Producer.

 

(888295681933)

SKU 888295681933
Barcode # 888295681933
Brand Maken It Music / Ropeadope

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