Was there ever a more generous player than Oscar Peterson? A man who, by simply doing the thing he most loved and thrilled to do, which was make people feel better way down deep in their bones, sat at his piano and made the world grateful? Rekindled that sparkof imagination, of potential, of betterjust by running his hands along the eighty-eights and instigating his soul mates, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen to do the same.
That is the first sensation reveled in as the trio, on the final night of an extended European tour before departing to Japan for more of the same, "Waltz for Debby" about the Teatro Apollo stage in Lugano, Switzerland, May 1964 and reveal to all in attendance the great heights we can all aspire to on any given night. It is a beautiful moment. Pure and simple.
Pure and simple lies at the gracious heart of Con Alma: The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Lugano, 1964, the fourth deep history dive into Peterson's trove of joy by his widow Kelly's Two Lions Records and Mack Avenue. It swings, it pirouettes. It sprights gaily and hits all the blue notes. It is full of history, moment, and vibe all the while making its own sweet history, moment, and vibe.
For those of us who were not there Con Alma: The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Lugano, 1964 makes one envision the smiles of expression and joy on all three men's faces as they lace and weave through "Waltz for Debby" into "My One and Only Love." Humbly virtuosic, Peterson conjures Art Tatum as Brown and Thigpen, as is their natures and allegiance to each other, hold steady and true.
"Blues for My Landlady," a raucous rumble that must have had the evening's attendees swaying and bopping in their seats, grooves and grouses, each solo a celebration; a springboard to other hijinks, like a rowdy whip-take on Dizzy Gillespie's mad tempo-shifting "Con Alma" wherein Brown, Thigpen, and Peterson each take a stand and regroup. And perhaps, in the heat of things, the trio is just getting started. "I Could Write a Book" is a Keystone Cop-paced spinner that just goes and goes and goes. The energy never stops even on the closing tap dance, "It Ain't Necessarily So."
There was a lot of great music heard in 2023. Now count Con Alma: The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Lugano, 1964 among them.
Waltz for Debby; My One and Only Love; Blues for My Landlady; Con Alma; I Could Write a Book; It
Ain't Necessarily So.
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