Oscar Peterson

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: RTE
PERFORMER: Peterson (p), with personnel including Ray Brown, Sam Jones (b); Ed Thigpen, Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 1710443 ADD

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Peterson’s recording career neatly divides itself into the Verve, MPS and Pablo eras, embracing almost forty years of music. Yet perhaps surprisingly, the master pianist made relatively few live recordings, particularly during the years when it is generally accepted he was at his peak, from around the late 1950s and throughout the Sixties (the Exclusively for My Friends set from 1963-68 was effectively a studio situation with a small number of guests).

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This magnificent set remedies that situation and gives ample proof that ‘in-person’ performances provide jazz’s most vivid life studies. Recorded for French radio between 1957 and 1969 at venues such as Paris’s Olympic Theatre, Théâtre des Champs Elysées and the Pleyel, the sound is excellent. Here is Peterson in concert being inspired by the thunderous applause of French audiences. The adrenalin flows and, never one to keep his exuberance in check, he is captured reaching for ever more astonishing highs. Not only an important historical document of a unique pianist, but also a hugely enjoyable one. Stuart Nicholson