Oscar Peterson Trio: Live at the Barbican, London 1984

COMPOSERS: Peterson,Rodgers and Hart
LABELS: BBC Jazz Legends
PERFORMER: Oscar Peterson (p), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (db), Martin Drew (d)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCJ 7001-2

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Oscar Peterson is not a major innovator like Gillespie, but he is a consummate piano virtuoso with an instantly recognisable identity and an irresistible ability to swing. Here he’s at the height of his very considerable powers, aided and abetted by his excellent rhythm section.

The concert opens with an ecstatically swinging performance of Rodgers and Hart’s ‘Falling in Love with Love’, which projects an infectious joy and optimism almost always present in Peterson’s music. His performances are also full of drama, which can draw applause in mid-performance, and there are superb solos by bass and drums in Peterson’s own swashbuckling ‘Cake Walk’.

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Apart from one more very funky Peterson composition, ‘Night Child’, standards make up the rest of this marvellous album, which ends with Peterson talking about the beginning of his career in a Charles Fox interview.