Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

447

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

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
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. Indeed, on "I Only Have Eyes For You," he sounds like the best amalgam of Art Tatum and Bud Powell, even while he lacked the incendiary qualities of the latter. He does however prove himself to have been capable of reproducing Charlie Parker's lines on "Padovane," where his lust for life is only too apparent.

The programme is split between piano/bass duos and trio tracks; the addition of either Herb Ellis or Barney Kessel on guitar sees the establishment of a lineup that Peterson's main influence, Tatum, worked in with much success. This trio music has the warmth and ebullience—that word again—that perhaps fell away the longer Peterson maintained a unit, and "Swingin' Till The Girls Come Home" as it's put across here by Peterson, Ellis and Brown reflects a group at the top of its game. "Tenderly" also offers evidence of how multifaceted the group with Ellis could be, and the Carnegie Hall audience appears audibly surprised by the restraint it shows.

Anyone for whom Peterson is the first and last word on jazz piano is likely to already have this music in some form or other. The rest might just find this release the one shot they need to hear his work. Certainly a lot of his later excesses are largely absent on Birth of a Legend, and that's a recommendation in itself.


Track Listing: Fine And Dandy; I Only Have Eyes For You; Carnegie Blues; Gai; Padovane; Sweet Georgia Brown; Cheek To Cheek; C Jam Blues; Tenderly; Seven Comes Eleven; Lollobridgida; Pompton Turnpike; Swingin' On A Star; Love For Sale; Swingin' 'Till The Girls Come Home.

Personnel: Oscar Peterson: piano; Ray Brown: bass; Barney Kessel: guitar (6-10); Herb Ellis: guitar (11-15).

Title: Birth of a Legend: Historic Carnegie Hall Concerts | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Giant Steps

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Esse" CD/LP/Track Review Esse
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Involution" CD/LP/Track Review Involution
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Songbook Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Volume 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Slow Learner" CD/LP/Track Review Slow Learner
by John Sharpe
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 21, 2017