Tenderly documents an unreleased live Vancouver performance from August, 1958. Given the year and the fact that this was recorded live, the sound quality is outstanding. Peterson leads his group through a series of pieces ranging from soft ballads to racing up-tempo numbers. He takes liberties combining disparate styles in ways that preserve the overall mood and tone of each piece. Peterson's "The Music Box Suite," for example, engages a childlike simplicity of tone and harmony up front, only to proceed onward into gentle jazz lyricism. Ellis's "Pogo" jumps from straightforward unison lines into a full-fire blues jaunt. An underappreciated guitarist, Ellis can back the group up, push it forward, or ride gleefully on top. And while Peterson's virtuosity and melodicism are long the subject of legend, Ray Brown offers an understated intuition that distinguishes him as one of the best listeners in the history of jazz.
Make no mistake: this is a mainstream jazz recording. It offers tasty swing and a fine sense of spontaneity, but there's no sense of going where no man has gone before. Nevertheless, it's satisfying to see this fine celebration, worthy of comparison to Peterson's best, finally brought to light.
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Track Listing: Alone Together; How About You; The Surry with the Fringe on Top; The Music Box Suite aka Daisy's Dream; A Foggy Dream; The Gypsy in My Soul; My Funny Valentine; Patricia; Pogo; Tenderly.
Personnel: Oscar Peterson: piano; Herb Ellis: guitar; Ray Brown: bass.
Record Label: Justin Time Records
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