Pianist Oscar Peterson's final Pablo album (after a countless amount of appearances as both a leader and a sideman) features his quartet (which at the time included guitarist Joe Pass, bassist David Young and drummer Martin Drew) on the second of two CDs (along with Oscar Peterson Live) recorded during an engagement at Los Angeles's Westwood Playhouse in Nov. 1986. For the well-rounded set Peterson performs two of his originals, the blues "Soft Winds," a solo ballad medley and, as a climax, a burning version of "On the Trail."
The third of Oscar Peterson's five duet albums with great trumpeters (the other encounters feature Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis) teams the masterful pianist with the great swing stylist Harry "Sweets" Edison. The trumpeter, who uses repetition to great degree and had pared his style down to a relatively few notes, matches well with the virtuosic Peterson on these seven standards and their two simple originals, "Basie" and "Signify." Together Edison and O.P. give the impression that their chance-taking improvisations are completely logical and a lot easier to play than they really are.
In the mid-'70s, Oscar Peterson recorded duet albums with veteran trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, and Harry "Sweets" Edison. He paid the young Jon Faddis a huge compliment by also recording a set with him. Faddis, very much under Gillespie's influence but already displaying a wide range, clearly enjoyed the challenge, and on a set of standards and basic material, he often tears into the songs with reckless abandon. The Peterson-Faddis encounter is generally quite exciting and a high point in the early career of Jon Faddis.
Oscar Peterson was one of the greatest piano players of all time. A pianist with phenomenal technique on the level of his idol, Art Tatum, Peterson's speed, dexterity, and ability to swing at any tempo were amazing. Very effective in small groups, jam sessions, and in accompanying singers, O.P. was at his absolute best when performing unaccompanied solos. His original style did not fall into any specific idiom. Like Erroll Garner and George Shearing, Peterson's distinctive playing formed during the mid- to late '40s and fell somewhere between swing and bop. Peterson was criticized through the years because he used so many notes, didn't evolve much since the 1950s, and recorded a remarkable number of albums.
Vol. 1. One of the nice things about jazz is the cross-pollination of different players in multiple settings. No one would've thought of pairing swing violinist Stéphane Grappelli and bop pianist Oscar Peterson, for instance, but the match works very well. The pair have expanded into a quartet on this reissue with the aid of double bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Kenny Clarke. The set, recorded in 1973 in Paris, includes a handful of standards, from Pinkard/Tracey/Tauber's "Them There Eyes" to Rodgers & Hart's "Thou Swell." As one might guess, Grappelli is in his own element on upbeat, swinging pieces like "Makin' Whoopee" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home"…
This is one of the slickest, most cosmopolitan Jazz albums ever. There is a lush orchestra arranged by Claus Ogerman, that leaves enough room for Peterson's improvisations and manages to actually compliment his dynamic style. Ogerman was originally from Munich, before he started to work as an arranger for stars like Frank Sinatra, Antonio Carlos Jobim and recently Diana Krall. In 1969 he arranged this album for Oscar Peterson called, which originally came out on MPS, a label located in Villingen, a small town in the German backwoods of the Black Forrest.
West Side Story was a bit of an unusual session for several reasons. First, the popularity of both the Broadway musical and the film version that followed meant that there were many records being made of its music. Second, rather than woodshed on the selections prior to entering the studio, the Oscar Peterson Trio spontaneously created impressions of the musical's themes on the spot. "Something's Coming" seems like a series of vignettes, constantly shifting its mood, as if moving from one scene to the next. Ray Brown plays arco bass behind Peterson in the lovely "Somewhere," while the feeling to "Jet Song" is very hip in the trio's hands…