Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson (II)

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setOscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He passed away Christmas Eve ’07 at the age of 82.

He may be the single most recorded of all piano players. 

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet soulfully elegant. 

Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano along with his technical prowess is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.

Trio_2 Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but do not overlook his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson.

The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.

Satch_and_joshFor a
compendium of his 1960s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years.

Of course, there are the standard "songbook"
albums (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) and the duets with greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Clark Terry and
Dizzy Gillespie.

I am also partial to A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra.

Night_trainThe 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen is also a favorite. It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops.


Oscar Peterson will be missed . . .



80th Birthday Tribute to Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson’s ‘Jazz Odyssey’
Hear an extended version of Bob Edwards’ interview with Oscar Peterson.

Oscar Peterson, 82, Jazz’s Piano Virtuoso, Dies
NYT,  December 25, 2007

A Jazz ‘Behemoth’ Moves On
WSJ, December 28, 2007

Tributes paid to Oscar Peterson

BBC, Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 08:00 GMT>



Oscar Peterson Trio Live at Newport

Soft Winds Oscar Peterson Quartet, featuring Joe Pass

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. bassface commented on Dec 28


    In several interviews when asked which was his favorite of his own recordings, OP said the stuff recorded at London House (in chicago) in 1961. These were sold individually as “The Trio”, “The Sound of the Trio” and I believe “Something Warm,” but can be purchased on the amazing box set Oscar Peterson Live at The London House.
    As a serious fan of OPs music (and as a former student of the great Ray Brown, RIP), I have to say that the London House stuff represents Oscar and the trio at his/their absolute peak. Check it out!
    Also of special note I’d include “Very Tall” with Milt Jackson.

  2. Oscar Robertson commented on Dec 28

    The rumors of my demise are most exaggerated but thanks for thinking of me.

    Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati, Ohio

  3. MikeM commented on Dec 29

    My Dad played jazz piano, and he got me interested in Oscar Peterson (and Teddy Wilson, Nat King Cole and Art Tatum) many moons ago….

    Pretty much, any of OP’s albums is fine music. OP is a musician’s musician. Any album with OP and Ben Webster is especially fine.

    Enjoy! OP was all about the music.

  4. VJ commented on Dec 29

    The two I’ve seen in concert with the fastest fingers were Oscar Peterson and Brian Auger.

  5. rickrude commented on Dec 29

    Wow, this is a great thread,
    Oscar’s great, he is gifted pianist,
    wealth is not only measured in USD.

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