123

Oliver Jones: Have Fingers, Will Travel

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Nearly 70 minutes of awe-inspiring technical brilliance and emphatic swinging at any and all tempos by Canada's "other" wizard of the contemporary Jazz piano, Oliver Jones. The comparisons to Oscar Peterson are inescapable, so let's dispense with them first. Yes, Jones did study piano with Oscar's sister, Daisy; yes, his command of the keyboard and his apparently endless profusion of inventive twists and turns rival those of the master himself; and yes, he and his sidemen - bassist Ray Brown, drummer Jeff Hamilton - sound very much like . . . well, the Oscar Peterson Trio. You have a problem with that? If so, move on. As for me, I believe that two Oscars are better than one - even if one is named Oliver - and if Oliver Jones or anyone else can sit down at a piano and do what Oscar Peterson does, that's good enough for me - and should be good enough for anyone else. Besides, even though Jones sounds like Peterson much of the time, he isn't playing precisely the same notes in the same sequence. Like snowflakes, no two Jazz interpretations are ever exactly alike (unless someone is purposely duplicating someone else's work, as SuperSax does with Bird, for example), so one invariably hears fresh statements from Jones, even though Peterson's massive shadow remains ever-present. On the bracing opener, Jones's "D.B.G. Blues," one might swear it was Oscar and not Oliver at the keyboard, but the music is no less exciting or seductive because of it. Jones is a marvelous interpreter of ballads, and is especially impressive - playing unaccompanied - on Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance," which closes the session. The other ballads, each of which he embraces with great care and tenderness, are "Street of Dreams," "I'm Through with Love," "Without a Song" and two of his own compositions, "Yvonne" and "Beautiful Jayde." Writing is another sphere in which Jones excels; the ballads are truly lovely, while the two blues and the fast-moving "Snowy Peaks" are more than bare-bones carcasses on which to feed. Rather than try to match Peterson stride-for-stride - which he is capable of doing - Jones opens wide the throttle only on "D.B.G. Blues," "If I Were a Bell" and "Snowy Peaks." Elsewhere, he's content to let his unflagging intelligence and good taste speak for themselves, which they do eloquently. Those same qualities animate Jones's rhythm section. Brown, praised by almost everyone in Jazz as one of the world's premier bassists, spent many years with Peterson's trio, while the impeccably astute Hamilton was a mainstay in Brown's trio of several years back with pianist Benny Green. They know each other well, and it shows. So there you have it - a conspicuously talented and admirably cohesive group that sounds like the Oscar Peterson trio but isn't. I'll buy that.


Track Listing:

D.B.G. Blues; Yvonne; Street of Dreams; If I Were a Bell; I'm Through with Love; Late Afternoon Blues; Without a Song; Charlie B.; Snowy Peaks; Beautiful Jayde; My Romance (69:03).

Personnel:

Oliver Jones, piano; Ray Brown, bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Alive" CD/LP/Track Review Alive
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Everybody's Somebody's Nobody" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody's Somebody's Nobody
by John Sharpe
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Hark The Herald" CD/LP/Track Review Hark The Herald
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar" CD/LP/Track Review Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!