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.
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and pianist Oscar Peterson are the stars of this delightful collection of jazz recordings supervised by producer Norman Granz over an almost exactly 12-month period extending from 1953 to 1954. Granz's marvelous knack for bringing together excellent musicians resulted in the combined presence of trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, trombonist Bill Harris, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, tenor saxophonists Ben Webster and Flip Phillips, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Buddy Rich. The combination of musical minds is extraordinary, and Hamp's amazing wavelength is dependably positive and uplifting.
Here are Oscar Peterson's first recordings, made in Canada before his U.S. breakthrough under the wing of Norman Granz. These Montreal recordings first came out as singles on the Canadian branch of the Victor label. As such, they don't come up for reissue air very often, which is a real shame, because there's some truly extraordinary performances here, including "I Got Rhythm," "In a Little Spanish Town," "Blue Moon," "Sweet Lorraine," and "The Sheik of Araby." Peterson is nothing short of jaw-droppingly excellent on these sides, his playing every bit as deft on the ballads as it is on the uptempo numbers. Plain and simply, these performances belong in every jazz lover's collection.
The material here was recorded for the Verve and MPS labels, and this two-disc, import retrospective of the work of legendary pianist Oscar Peterson is not only representative, but solid from top to bottom, showcasing many of his finest moments on wax in both live and studio recordings with his great trio of Herb Ellis and Ray Brown as well as in other settings. This is as fine an introduction as there is and, for the money, simply cannot be beaten.
The Nelson Riddle Orchestra was always great enough to play music for film and television soundtracks, and accompany the greatest of stars, including Louis Jordan, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, among many others. For the band to back up the 1963 version of the Oscar Peterson trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen might have created some tension, with Peterson always wanting to cut loose and go over the top as opposed to the silky smooth sound Riddle favored. Fortunately, Peterson strikes a balance between playing it cool and lettin' 'er rip on this collection of standards with the dinner hour in mind…