Oscar Peterson has stated that he feels his MPS recordings are his finest. That is quite a statement considering the huge amount of records that the pianist has produced through the past 50 years. This set reissues the music from six of his MPS LPs: Action, Girl Talk, The Way I Really Play, My Favorite Instrument, Mellow Mood, and Travelin' On. While some of the performances feature the 1963 trio he had with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, most of the music dates from 1967-1968 and matches Peterson with bassist Sam Jones and either Louis Hayes or Bobby Durham on drums. A special treat is Peterson's first unaccompanied solo album, which fills up the final LP. Peterson's many fans know what to expect in this set, while other listeners need to discover him to realize what all of the fuss was about. Quite simply, Oscar Peterson has long been one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known; this reissue offers plenty of proof.
On Gillespie's second recording for Norman Granz's Pablo label, he joins Oscar Peterson for a set of miraculous duets. Benny Green, who wrote the liner notes for this album, compared this performance of Ellington's classic composition to the Armstrong and Hines rendition of "Weather Bird." Peterson melds a keen sense for complementary accompaniment with dexterous, interweaving polyphonic lines.
This single-disc Oscar Peterson collection, Oscar Peterson Plays the Best of the Great American Songbooks, culls tracks from throughout the pianist's career. Primarily, the focus here is on Peterson's takes on standard songs by such composers as Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, and others. Included are songs like "That Old Black Magic," "Blue Moon," "A Fine Romance," and more.
Guitarist Herb Ellis still considers this to be one of his personal favorite recordings. Ellis was reunited with his old boss Oscar Peterson and, with the assistance of Peterson's trio of the period (with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Bobby Durham), the two lead voices often romp on the jam session-flavored set. Most of the chord changes are fairly basic (including three blues and "Seven Come Eleven"), and Peterson was clearly inspired by Ellis' presence (and vice versa).
Most musicians when asked to give a list of their favorite composers will usually have at the top, or near the top of the list George Gershwin. They feel that Gershwin wrote in such a fashion that it gives them the most room for improvisation. You will always find that when people are asked to do albums of various composers, invariably Gershwin is on the list. Buddy DeFranco has recorded many albums for me and for two years has been insisting that he be allowed to do a Gershwin album, and this is it…
The first six selections on this CD are from a long-out-of-print LP featuring the brilliant clarinetist Buddy DeFranco with the Oscar Peterson Quartet (Peterson's trio plus drummer Louie Bellson). While the six selections are all standards, DeFranco and Peterson produce plenty of fireworks with the majority of the numbers being taken up-tempo. DeFranco sounds flawless on clarinet, making it sound so easy to play lightning-fast runs; few other clarinetists have ever come close. Recommended.