In what was a giant undertaking (even for producer Norman Granz), pianist Oscar Peterson recorded ten Songbook albums during 1952-1954 and when his trio changed, nine more in 1959. Both of his George Gershwin projects (one from 1952 and the other from 1959) have been reissued in full on this single CD. The earlier date matches the brilliant Peterson with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Brown, while the 1959 session has Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. The Songbook series found Peterson playing concise (around three-minute) versions of tunes, and he always kept the melody in the forefront. The results are not innovative or unique, but they are tasteful and reasonably enjoyable. Since five of the songs are played by both groups, a comparison between the two units is interesting.
One of the reasons that Jackson Browne's first album is among the most auspicious debuts in pop music history is that it doesn't sound like a debut. Although only 23, Browne had kicked around the music business for several years, writing and performing as a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and as Nico's backup guitarist, among other gigs, while many artists recorded his material. So, if this doesn't sound like someone's first batch of songs, it's not. Browne had developed an unusual use of language, studiedly casual yet full of striking imagery, and a post-apocalyptic viewpoint to go with it. He sang with a calm certainty over spare, discretely placed backup – piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, congas, violin, harmony vocals – that highlighted the songs and always seemed about to disappear. In song after song, Browne described the world as a desert in need of moisture, and this wet/dry dichotomy carried over into much of the imagery.
Jackson Browne faced the nearly insurmountable task of following a masterpiece in making his second album. Having cherry-picked years of songwriting the first time around, he turned to some of his secondary older material, which was still better than most people’s best and, ironically, more accessible — notably such songs as “These Days,” which had been covered six times already, dating back to Nico’s Chelsea Girl album in 1967, and “Take It Easy,” a co-composition with the Eagles’ Glenn Frey that had been a Top 40 hit for the group in 1972.
3 X CD SET FEATURING LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FROM 1972, 1973 & 1976 The three live FM radio broadcasts encompassed in this delightful package come from 1972, 1974 and 1976 respectively - for many, if not most fans, Browne s golden era. Disc one features an in-studio session recorded at and broadcast from the RCA Studios in New York. It took place just eight months after the release of his debut and as is evident that, even at this early stage in his career, Jackson had already matured into a strong live performer and superlative composer. Disc two boasts a show performed at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, in early spring 1974, and during which label-mate Linda Ronstadt, who was touring with Browne at the time, joins Jackson for a version of One More Song, a number by Jack Tempchin - the man who composed the lovely Eagles number Peaceful Easy Feeling. Disc three includes the full Soundstage performance Jackson Browne gave for the regular PBS TV series of concert broadcasts in 1976. Recorded at the WTTW studios in Chicago, this concert is augmented by two bonus cuts taken from Browne s appearance on Saturday Night Live the same year.
Despite the pessimistic title, all of the members of this particular quartet (vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Grady Tate) were still active into the mid-'90s. The music is unsurprising but still quite enjoyable and virtuosic as Bags and Co. perform blues, standards and ballads with their usual swing and bop-based creativity. Highlights include the title cut, "Stuffy," "What Am I Here For" and a vibes-piano duo version of "A Time for Love."
Recorded three years after their first full album together, this second encounter between Count Basie and Oscar Peterson on twin pianos (this time with a quartet) is as strong as the original, alternating standards with blues. Both Peterson and Basie have one number apiece on electric piano, making this album historic as well as quite musical.