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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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Oscar Peterson: Date with Oscar

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Oscar PetersonDate with OscarMembran Records2008 Alongside of the sad news of jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson's passing comes Date With Oscar, a ten-disc retrospective of his activities from 1950-56, a period of artistic flowering and prodigious productivity. Date is an uneven set, chock-full of gems, both lesser- and well-known, yet also containing expendable tracks, inexplicable duplications, and a goodly number of cuts in which Peterson is little more than a supportive sideman. In general, however, there is enough gold in this mine to compensate for its less precious ore.Disc ...

DOWNLOAD REVIEWS

Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best

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Hearing Oscar Peterson late in life, his left hand rendered useless by a stroke and arthritis, could be a terribly sad thing, sometimes no more than a whisper of the giant that had me scouring CD bins after first listening to him.But his magnetism was never just about music, as his fellow Canadians and several jazz legends made clear during a tribute in Toronto shortly after his death.The two-hour “Oscar Peterson Tribute - Simply The Best" concert January 12, 2008, at Roy Thomson Hall drew a capacity crowd of 2,600, some of whom lined up at ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Jazz At The Philharmonic: Switzerland, 1953

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Before the star-studded jam sessions of the 1970s Montreux Jazz Festivals there were the pioneering Jazz At The Philharmonic (JATP) road shows, which toured from 1946 into the 1960s and put onstage together many of the greatest mainstream and modern stars of their times. Both Montreux and JATP were the brainchildren of Norman Granz, the jazz enthusiast and music business impresario also responsible for founding the prolific Clef, Norgram, Down Home, Verve and Pablo labels. The two discs considered here are fruits of JATP's European concert series in the early 1950s.

Oscar Peterson & Ella Fitzgerald

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Very Tall Band: Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson: What's Up

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What's Up is the addendum to Telarc's 1999 release of Live at the Blue Note, cataloging a holiday performance of elder statesmen pianist Oscar Peterson, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and bassist Ray Brown with the support of relative youngster drummer Karriem Riggins. Recorded on Thanksgiving weekend, 1998 at New York City's Blue Note Club, these performances are fortuitous as the three principles have performed together from time to time for the past five decades, building impressive discographies together and separately. Additionally, as these performances were recorded, the sun was setting on the trio, two of whom have since passed away (Milt ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oscar Peterson: Perfect Peterson: The Best of the Pablo and Telarc Recordings

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The back cover photo on this two-disc set is a shot of the inimitable Oscar Peterson in a light-toned suit with a wide necktie that sports a swirling, quasi-paisley pattern. The photo's in black and white, but we can guess at a riot of colors; and that phrase could serve as a decription of Peterson's piano style: a light-hearted riot of swinging colors.The two discs span Peterson's career from 1953 until 2000, covering a surprising array of styles and ensemble configurations, given that the pianist is best known for his work in the piano/bass/guitar trio format. The long ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oscar Peterson: Birth of A Legend: Oscar Peterson Historic Carnegie Hall Concerts

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Legend has it that Norman Granz wanted to introduce Oscar Peterson to America through his Carnegie Hall concerts, but the Canadian citizen couldn't obtain a work visa to allow him to appear. So Granz planted him in the audience and asked him to appear on stage with bassist Ray Brown for a set. The pianist wowed the crowd and became the talk of the town immediately afterward.

Those performances from 1949 are captured at the beginning of Birth Of A Legend, where we hear a flashy, dynamic virtuoso bound and determined to wow the crowd. His is a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oscar Peterson: Birth of a Legend: Historic Carnegie Hall Concerts

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It's probably safe to say that Oscar Peterson has never shown much understanding of restraint in the course of his lengthy career, and indeed it might be argued that his whole approach to the piano has always run the the risk of coming across as the triumph of technique.

Things are a little different on Birth of a Legend. The music was recorded between 1949 and 1953, and during this period, Peterson's characteristically ebullient swing was like the most benevolent force of nature, rather than the work of a musician who viewed piano playing as some triumph of the will. ...



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