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Compact Jazz: Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson

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Album Review

Taken from sessions for the Mercury label co-opted by Verve, this 11-tune set has pianist Oscar Peterson in exclusively small-group settings, mostly trios. Trumpeter Clark Terry joins in for the Peterson original "Roundalay" and a spirited "Mack the Knife." There's one other O.P. composition, the pensive "Wheatland," with the rest being a solid fare of standards, ballads, and blues. You expect Peterson to cut loose once in a while, and he does on a rip-roaring take of "If I Were a Bell." A compacted slice of his huge discography for sure — there are larger collections from this mid-'60s time frame, and better single albums — but these are good picks during what was a fruitful period for the great Canadian jazzman. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Oscar Peterson was one of the greatest piano players of all time. A pianist with phenomenal technique on the level of his idol, Art Tatum, Peterson's speed, dexterity, and ability to swing at any tempo were amazing. Very effective in small groups, jam sessions, and in accompanying singers, O.P. was at his absolute best when performing unaccompanied solos. His original style did not fall into any specific idiom. Like Erroll Garner and George Shearing, Peterson's distinctive playing formed during the...
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