Oscar Peterson

Society tends to categorize films, music and art within the first few minutes of internalizing the art form. Oscar's first piece o­n his 'Ballads' CD, "Harcourt nights", sent me o­n a momentary tailspin. For a few seconds I thought he was going into a cheesy version of "Evergreen'" by Barbara Streisand, but no; in actuality the composition came from his own Canadiana Suite written several years ago, with some very rich and modern string writing .I found my tendency to label this CD to be invalid, in that it isn't all ballads. Most of the pieces start off smoothly enough but in their development Oscar takes off in his usual way. He also has an all out blues tune, not swing but rock, "Peace For South Africa". This is my first experience at hearing him do a rock / blues number, even though he recorded it back in 1990. Ecstasy, featuring Roy Hargrove o­n trumpet and Ralph Moore o­n sax, along with "When Summer Comes", were my personal favorites. Oscar Peterson buffs will be happy to hear lots of Ray Brown (bass) and Bobby Durham (drums) providing the rhythm section o­n a good number of the tracks. A few other notable artists such as Herb Ellis and Benny Greene appear as well. This compilation album includes some very tasteful playing, with a focus o­n more of Peterson's laid back stuff. Enjoy…

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