Producer Norman Granz occasionally got carried away with the quantity of his recording projects. In 1974 he recorded a full album teaming fellow pianists Count Basie and Oscar Peterson in a rhythm quintet; little did anyone realize that this then-unique matchup would eventually result in five albums. This first one, which finds Basie doubling on organ, is among the best. Peterson's virtuosic style somehow worked very well with Basie's sparse playing and these ten numbers really swing.
Although the music of this two-LP set was recording at a concert in the Soviet Union, it is a fairly typical recital by pianist Oscar Peterson with no obvious reference to the exotic location. Peterson takes five selections unaccompanied, performs four others as duets with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and adds drummer Jake Hanna to the nine remaining numbers. Other than three originals, all of the music is comprised of veteran standards and, although no real surprises occur, the results are what one would expect from the great Oscar Peterson, who alternates hard swingers with sensitive ballad renditions.
Oscar Peterson was recorded by Verve more often than any other artist. In those years, his groups had the ability to not just keep up with him but become equal partners in creating music that would soar the heights while never forgetting to flat-out swing. Hear him in classic duo, trio, and big-band settings with such stalwarts as Cannonball Adderley, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Sam Jones, Clark Terry, and Ed Thigpen.
A pleasant compilation of Oscar Peterson tracks with Ed Thigpen, Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham, and others sitting in, all anchored by Peterson's classic version of "Fly Me to the Moon," originally written by Bart Howard in 1954.
An extension of the popular Original Jazz Classics series (est. 1982), the new OJC Remasters releases reveal the sonic benefits of 24-bit remastering-a technology that didn't exist when these titles were originally issued on compact disc. The addition of newly-written liner notes further enhances the illuminating quality of the OJC Remasters reissues. "Each of the recordings in this series is an all-time jazz classic," says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series.
For this Pablo set (reissued on CD), Ella Fitzgerald is heard on half of the program in duets with pianist Oscar Peterson and for the remainder in trios with Peterson and bassist Ray Brown. In general the performances are memorable (particularly "How Long Has This Been Going On," "More than You Know," "Midnight Sun" and "April in Paris" ) with the emphasis on ballads. Although her voice had slipped a little by this time, the results are still rewarding and swinging. ~ AllMusic
Official 2016 remastered collection of Verve albums in replica card sleeves! Includes "Plays Count Basie", "A Jazz Portrait Of Frank Sinatra", "Jazz Soul Of Oscar Peterson", "Plays Porgy & Bess" & "West Side Story".