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Freedom Song: The Oscar Peterson Big 4 In Japan '82

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If you're a serious jazz collector who has 50, 60, or more Oscar Peterson CDs in your collection, you can't help but be amazed by the pianist's consistent nature. Many of his releases are predictably excellent, and only on rare occasions has he recorded a weak album. Recorded live at Tokyo's Shibuya Hall in 1982, this two-CD set finds Peterson leading a quartet that employs Joe Pass on guitar, Martin Drew on drums, and Danish improviser Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on upright bass. There are no dull or weak moments; the bop-oriented quartet soars on material that ranges from Walter Donaldson's "You Look Good to Me" and Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time" to Peterson's own "The Fallen Warrior," which he dedicates to South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. At the time, South Africa still had the deplorable apartheid system, and Mandela was still in prison — back in 1982, we could only dream about a world in which he was president of South Africa, and countries like Russia, Hungary, and Poland had capitalist governments. Not all of the musicians are present on all of the songs, which is a good thing because it makes the concert a bit less predictable. Peterson plays unaccompanied solo piano on Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" and a medley of Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens" and pianist Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby," while Pass is by himself on "Easy Living." And bassist Pedersen is the lone wolf on the brief "Future Child." Although Freedom Song falls short of essential, Peterson's devoted fans will find it to be a consistently rewarding document of his 1982 visit to Japan.

Freedom Song: The Oscar Peterson Big 4 In Japan '82, The Oscar Peterson Big 4
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