Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

84

Oscar Peterson: Unmistakable

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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 in time).

Tracks 1-8 on this splendid album are presented in Zenph re-performance stereo, then repeated (tracks 9-16) in binaural stereo, "the ultimate headphone experience," so the liner notes say. What exactly is a Zenph re-performance? Rather than try to explain it in layman's terms, here is what Zenph founder John Q. Walker writes:
Zenph Studios takes audio recordings and turns them back into live performances, precisely replicating what was originally recorded. The Zenph software- based process extracts every musical nuance of a recorded performance, and stores the data in a high-resolution digital file. These re-performance files contain every detail of how every note in the composition was played, including pedal actions, volume, and articulation—all with micro-second timings.


Further:
The re-performance files are played back on a real acoustic piano [in this case a Boesendorfer Imperial, which Peterson preferred] fitted with sophisticated computers and hardware, letting the listener 'sit in the room' as if he or she were there when the original recording was made. The re-performance is then recorded afresh, using the latest microphones and recording techniques, to modernize monophonic or poor- quality recordings of great performances.
Whether you follow that or not, what is "unmistakable" is that someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to make sure the sound on this superb "re-performance" is unerring and unblemished.

Having listened to the stereo and binaural stereo versions of Peterson's solo-piano voyages, I must confess that I really can't tell the difference. My guess is that "the ultimate headphone experience" requires "the ultimate headphones" (mine are mid-level Sennheiser 457s) and the kind of ears that are able to discern and appreciate minuscule changes in recorded sound—in other words, the kind of ears I've never had. While there's no doubting that the Zenph sound is remarkable, it is best appreciated by audiophiles, for whom I suppose this and other albums like it are designed. On the other hand, this is Oscar Peterson, playing piano as only he could, and if the sound is immaculate, so much the better.

Track Listing: Body and Soul; Back Home Again in Indiana; The Man I Love; Who Can I Turn To; When I Fall in Love; Duke Ellington medley (Take the “A” Train/In a Sentimental Mood)/C Jam Blues/Lady of the Lavender Mist/(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings/Satin Doll/Caravan); Con Alma; Goodbye.

Personnel: Oscar Peterson: piano.

Title: Unmistakable | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sony Masterworks

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Reassessing
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
Extended Analysis
Multiple Reviews
Extended Analysis
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Download Reviews
Album Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Oscar Peterson Plays

Oscar Peterson Plays

Verve Music Group
2018

buy
Oscar, with Love

Oscar, with Love

Two Lions Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Higher Album Reviews
Higher
By Tyran Grillo
May 26, 2019
Read The Unlonely Raindancer Album Reviews
The Unlonely Raindancer
By Matt Parker
May 26, 2019
Read Pyramid Scheme Album Reviews
Pyramid Scheme
By Mark Sullivan
May 26, 2019
Read Mosaismic Album Reviews
Mosaismic
By Mike Jurkovic
May 26, 2019
Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019