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REASSESSING

Oscar Peterson & Stephane Grappelli: Skol

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Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli Skol OJC 1979/2013 Music impresario Norman Granz (1918-2001) was a cagey so-and-so. When he inaugurated Pablo Records in 1973, he already had a catalog of recordings and an immediate pool of exceptional performers who also happened to be under his management (often making his acquaintance through Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic program). With this combination of fortunes, Granz was able to release some 350 recordings in 15 years, before he sold his company to Fantasy Records in 1987. We are amid the 40th anniversary of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oscar Peterson: Unmistakable

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The first thing Unmistakable on this recording is the pianist: it can only be the incomparable Oscar Peterson, who, if not the greatest jazz pianist who ever lived, is certainly among the top four or five. This scrapbook, however, is not, strictly speaking, a performance by Peterson but a “re-performance," taken from DVDs of three concerts--one from the mid-'70s, the others from the early '80s--and re-recorded using the Zenph Sound Innovations re-performance system. Peterson's original performances are electronically and digitally enhanced to theoretically produce the clearest and most natural recorded sound that is humanly possible (at least to this point ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Oscar Peterson: Debut: The Clef / Mercury Duo Recordings 1949-1951

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Oscar PetersonDebut: The Clef / Mercury Duo Recordings 1949-1951Verve Music Group2010

Piano giant Oscar Peterson's professional career spanned approximately 60 years and produced a prolific amount of recordings, though most of what he waxed during his first two decades was for labels launched by jazz impresario Norman Granz. But Peterson's early duo recordings have been neglected during the CD era until this comprehensive, three-CD set of his duets with Ray Brown or Major Holley made between 1949 and 1951. While the story of how Granz discovered the phenomenal young pianist has ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Oscar Peterson: The Quintessence & Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle

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Oscar PetersonThe QuintessenceFremeaux2009 Oscar Peterson and Nelson RiddleOscar Peterson/Nelson RiddleRecord Label #2Year This month marks the two-year anniversary of Oscar Peterson's passing. The jazz legend continued to perform live until a year before he died at 82. While music lovers may be deprived of hearing him play at clubs and concert halls, his legacy lives on through two outstanding new releases. One offers a sprawling assessment of a period of Peterson's career that featured ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Oscar Peterson: The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Sessions of the Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953)

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Oscar Peterson The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Recordings of The Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953) Mosaic Records 2008

The late Oscar Peterson was technically dazzling, harmonically sophisticated and indefatigably rhythmic. His virtuosic command of the piano has never been questioned. Because of Norman Granz' enthusiasm for his work, Peterson recorded prolifically as soloist and sideman as well as the leader of his own trio. Patterned after Nat Cole's trio, this group featured bassist Ray Brown, guitarists Barney Kessel (eight of the sessions presented here) or Irving Ashby (only one from January 1952) and later, ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Jazz Icons Series 3: Oscar Peterson Live '63, '64 and '65

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Oscar Peterson Jazz Icons Series 3: Live '63, '64 and '65 Jazz Icons 2008

Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) had but one peer on jazz piano, and that was Art Tatum. While greatly influenced by Tatum, Peterson nevertheless developed into the superior blues player of the two. A veteran of Norman Granz's Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts before the end of the '50s, Peterson would evolve through the 1950s to lead perhaps the finest piano trio in jazz history, the one that included bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis. This ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Oscar Peterson: The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Recordings of The Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953)

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Oscar Peterson The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Recordings of The Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953) Mosaic Records 2008

How do you criticize pianist Oscar Peterson? The two primary meanings of such a question expose the divide among those who must confront his talent--and, like it or not, no musician or supporter of the music can duck the issues raised by the most prolifically recorded pianist in jazz history. To the one camp, Peterson's playing represents a sort of gold standard and is therefore beyond criticism; to the other side, his inarguable virtuosity and flawless ...



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