This 1996 single-CD reissues the complete contents of two former LPs by the Oscar Peterson Trio (consisting of pianist Peterson, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen) in 1959 and 1962. Although the pianist is virtually always the lead voice, Brown and Thigpen both make strong (if subtle) contributions to the music. Highlights include "Liza," "Con Alma," "Waltz for Debby," Brown's "The Gravy Waltz" and "Yours Is My Heart Alone." An above-average release (and rather generous at 74 minutes) from the much-recorded Oscar Peterson.
I must admit I winced when I read the label information, especially the bit about "The Enchanted Melody From The Shirley Temple Show". My fears were virtually groundless, however. This is a good big band, with plenty of soloists, and an arranger (Harry Betts, late of the Kenton trombone section) who treats these television and film themes with praiseworthy perfunctoriness. ~ Alun Morgan
Early Byrd: The Best of the Jazz Soul Years contains a selection of nine tracks from Donald Byrd's mid-'60s recordings, bypassing his funkier fusions of the late '60s and early '70s. These songs – including such numbers as "Slow Drag," "Jellyroll," "Mustang," "Blackjack" and "The Dude" – feature the trumpeter at his grittiest and funkiest. Fans of his early hard bop years will still find enough improvisation here to make it interesting, while latter-day fans will find enough grooves. It's a solid introduction to one of Byrd's most prolific periods.