John L. Nelson Project records jazz by Prince’s dad

  • This cover image released by Maken It Music Records/Ropeadope Records shows “Don’t Play With Love,” a release by the The John L. Nelson Project. (Maken It Music Records/Ropeadope via AP)

Associated Press
Thursday, March 08, 2018

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.