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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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OSCAR PETERSON

Plays the Jerome Kern Song Book

Verve 0602517995765

 

 


1. I Won't Dance
2. Bill
3. The Song is You
4. A Fine Romance
5. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
6. Ol' Man River
7. Long Ago and Far Away
8. Lovely to Look At
9. Pick Yourself Up
10. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
11. The Way You Look Tonight
12. Yesterdays

Oscar Peterson - Piano
Ray Brown - Bass
Ed Thigpen - Drums
Originally released in 1959.

 
The other night whilst waiting for a big band gig to start, a number of us were discussing the current state of the jazz scene. Our baritone player started things off, by saying that there was no-one around today who had the sound of either Harry Carney or Gerry Mulligan. One or two names were put forward, but overall we agreed that he was right. The discussion then ran through all of our instruments and it seems we all preferred the jazz that has already passed. One name that came forward for the piano of course was the incomparable Oscar Peterson. A day later this record arrived for review and it was easy to see the reason why. I have heard Hiromi described as Oscar's natural successor and, having seen her perform at the San Javier Jazz Festival, I would agree that she has all the technique and lots of ideas. Unfortunately however there was no presence and no recognisable tune, so after ten minutes I was bored. I was listening to one of the world's current great players, but there was nothing to sustain my interest.

For the jazz performance to succeed it must have excellent performers, great tunes and some kind of communication with an audience. An Oscar Peterson concert had all these things and he always worked with the best rhythm sections: this one with the great Ray Brown and the crisp and musical Ed Thigpen. Ed demonstrates on this record how great swing can be generated with the minimum of noise, something few drummers understand. 
Oscar's playing is exemplary, wasn't it always? He is probably the only pianist who ever succeeded in including the influence of Art Tatum and had the technique to carry it off. Listen to the way the whole unit swings on The Song is You or for that matter any of the other tracks; it really does not get much better than this! Which goes to prove the point I was making at the start: there are very few jazz trios today that could fill the largest concert halls. Diana Krall has the presence and I think she is a very fine pianist, but I am sure she does not see herself as a Peterson replacement. I think she is an excellent performer and she does it by delivering musical excellence and good tunes.

To me, this is a must buy, because there won't be any more and jazz is a poorer music because of that!

Don Mather 



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