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A Jazz Odyssey

Oscar Peterson

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Album Review

This 18-track selection of Oscar Peterson's work was assembled to coincide with the great pianist's autobiography. Centering on his most creative period, from 1950-1970, this compilation focuses intently on the years Peterson spent playing with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, Sweets Edison, and Max Roach, as well as establishing himself as a bandleader and soloist. Tracks such as "My Romance," "Get Happy," "Blue Moon," and "Pennies from Heaven'' are standards in Peterson's repertoire and showcase his sprightly, often dizzying right-hand machinations and his complex, often frighteningly difficult conception of harmonic architecture. In his fine swinging style, his read of "I Only Have Eyes for You," with Fitzgerald, is one of the true hallmarks of piano and vocal jazz. This is a fine place to start for anyone interested in discovering Peterson's contribution to the historical jazz canon.

Biography

Born: 15 August 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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