Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck|
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After listening to the remastered Pablo release "The Composer" recently,
I feel that I am starting to understand Oscar Peterson's work on a
different level. With this recent release from Telarc, "Oscar's Ballads",
again a different light is shed upon this legendary performer's work.
His catalog is immense, dating back to 1945 when he released his first
album. Peterson is entering his sixth decade of recording since the
turn of the new millennium. That in and of itself speaks volumes for
his art form and constancy. I merely have touched the tip of the iceberg
when it comes to exploring this man's enormous body of work. Yes,
I am a beginner, and I am delighted to say that the discovery of this
jazz giant has given me a new perspective on the entire genre. Peterson
will make you rethink the importance placed upon Coltrane and Davis.
While those particular artists were very important, I think Peterson
deserves his place alongside them as a major influence in the development
of jazz as we know it today.
Peterson is well known for his rapid-fire fingers upon the keyboards.
With this in mind you will hear a beautiful collection of ballads
and the softer and more introspective Peterson immaculately displaying
his artistry on these tracks. Although he maintains his style and
steadfast approach to his craft, he allows himself and his surrounding
bands to allow the eloquent and soft side of his personality and music
to rise to the top, always keeping in mind that you are aware of all
his influences, which you will hear in every song. Swing, bop, blues,
jazz, ragtime, classical…all of them are heard loud and clear regardless
of the approach taken by Peterson. "Tranquille" was recorded live
in Paris in 1996. The title is befitting of the music to be sure.
The track runs over nine minutes and it's a charming passage for his
accompaniment. Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, world-renowned bass
player, is one of the many great jazz players that Peterson exchanges
notes with on that track. Roy Hargove adds his familiarly exquisite
trumpet to "Ecstasy", and the astounding oeuvre "Peace For Africa"
(10:58) is influenced by the fabulous Ray Brown on bass, Bobby Durham
on drums, and Herb Ellis on guitar.
It's obvious Peterson has played with many of the all-time greats.
Once again we can witness the jazz giants playing amongst giants.
It's a wonderful thing this jazz idiom. There are eight tracks off
of eight albums, giving you a taste of the resourcefulness and magnitude
of one of the last centuries most influential and most incredible jazz pianist.
1. Harcourt Nights
2. If You Only Knew
3. When Summer Comes
5. Love Ballade
8. Peace For South Africa