Jan 18, 2016
To honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King on the anniversary
of his birth, here is the Official Straight No Chaser song of the
“Martin was a Man, a Real Man” as recorded by Oliver Nelson in
1969. The band for the recording included Nelson, Pearl Kaufmann
and Roger Kellaway (piano); Chuck Domanico (bass); John Guerin and
Roy Haynes (drums); Frank Stroizer and John Gross (sax) and Bob
“Martin was a Man, a Real Man” was released on Nelson’s Black, Brown and Beautiful album in 1970 on the Flying Dutchman label. Considered to be one of Nelson’s hippest releases, the album continued Nelson’s move from blues-based jazz arrangements to cinematic, nearly stream-of-consciousness concept albums. With tracks with titles like “Lamb of God” and “I Hope in Time a Change Will Come”, and the sounds of sirens, rioting and unrest, the album comes across as a deeply felt response to Dr. King’s assassination. Even hipper – and more controversial – was the completely nude torso of a lovely black woman on the cover, coming close to a full frontal reveal.
For a previous podcast tribute to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, click here. For a 2008 podcast of tunes from Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Grant Green, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver, and the Blind Boys of Alabama that are appropriate for the day, click here.