Oscar Peterson Trio – Live In Belgrad 1961 (2008)

FrontCover1Oscar 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 mid- to late ’40s and fell somewhere between swing and bop. Peterson was criticized through the years because he used so many notes, didn’t evolve much since the 1950s, and recorded a remarkable number of albums. Perhaps it is because critics ran out of favorable adjectives to use early in his career; certainly it can be said that Peterson played 100 notes when other pianists might have used ten, but all 100 usually fit, and there is nothing wrong with showing off technique when it serves the music. As with Johnny Hodges and Thelonious Monk, to name two, Peterson spent his career growing within his style rather than making any major changes once his approach was set, certainly an acceptable way to handle one’s career. Because he was Norman Granz’s favorite pianist (along with Tatum) and the producer tended to record some of his artists excessively, Peterson made an incredible number of albums. Not all are essential, and a few are routine, but the great majority are quite excellent, and there are dozens of classics. (by Scott Yanow)

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Oscar Petersons relationship with Ray Brown had begun in 1949, when both performed together at Carnegie Hall during one of Norman Granzs Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. From 1950 to 1952, Granz would often record the two musicians in a duo format, or even in trio, with Barney Kessel or Irving Ashby on guitar. From then on both would play and record in many formats, under Petersons name, multiple JATP concerts or backing such stars as Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald (who was Browns wife), Lester Young or Ben Webster, to name just a few.

This release presents a rarely heard concert by Oscar Peterson in Yugoslavia. Brilliantly recorded, it is a perfect example of the interaction and mutual understanding of the Peterson – Brown – Thigpen unit, which would break apart in mid-1965. (

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Personnel:
Ray Brown (bass)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Ed Thigpen (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Les Feuillles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) (Prévert/Mercer/Kosma) 5.33
02. Tenderly (Lawrence/Gross) 7.42
03. Where Do We Go From Here (Robertson) 7.43
04. Cubana Chant  (Bryant) 7.47
05. Waltz For Debbie (Evans) 5.35
06. It Ain’t Necessarily So (Gershwin) 4.35
07. I Want To Be Here (Getz) 8.22
08. The Golden Striker (Lewis) 7.31

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Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007)

 

The Nice – Live At The Fillmore East 1969 (2009)

FrontCover1The Nice were an English progressive rock band active in the late 1960s. They blended rock, jazz and classical music and were keyboardist Keith Emerson’s first commercially successful band.

The group was formed in 1967 by Emerson, Lee Jackson, David O’List and Ian Hague to back soul singer P. P. Arnold. After replacing Hague with Brian Davison, the group set out on their own, quickly developing a strong live following. The group’s stage performances featured Emerson’s Hammond organ showmanship and abuse of the instrument, such as playing rhythms while switching the reverb on and off while the spring unit was crashing about. Their compositions included radical rearrangements of classical music themes and Bob Dylan songs.

The band achieved commercial success with an instrumental rearrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “America”, following which O’List left the group. The remaining members carried on as a trio, releasing several albums, before Emerson decided to leave the band in early 1970 in order to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The group briefly reformed in 2002 for a series of concerts. (by wikipedia)

Press

Keith Emerson’s first prog trio in full live action:

Out of all of EMI’s new reissues of The Nice’s Charisma label back catalogue, this two-disc set totaling over 90 minutes is likely to be of most interest to fans of The Nice.

Whilst the song titles will be familiar this is the first time this concert at New York’s legendary Fillmore East has been released.

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Where the studio albums were often a little too variable for their own good, hearing the set flow from start to finish gives us a greater appreciation of how powerful and cohesive a unit The Nice were in concert.

Whilst Keith Emerson’s off-the-cuff quotes of Bach and other popular classics may sound a touch arch by today’s standards, it’s easy to forget how hard-edged and radical this was to audiences largely fed on a diet of bluesy guitar jams.

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This, coupled with his theatrical mauling of the Hammond organ, added not only an arresting visual dimension but the resulting ear-bleeding atonality of such pre-meditated destruction gave the group something of an avant-garde frisson as well.

Though Lee Jackson’s sandpaper-rasp of a voice suited the rockier repertoire, his limitations are spotlighted in the quieter parts such as their imaginative reading of Tim Hardin’s sublime Hang On To A Dream.

Nevertheless, Jackson’s bass playing was entirely dependable and together with drummer Brian Davison’s always elegant but robust swing, the pair provided an unswerving rhythm section that was in effect the safety net to Emerson’s high-wire act.

When this show was recorded The Nice were only weeks away from breaking up. Yet the risk-taking that went from Dylan to Dvorak remains exhilarating, edgy and largely underrated. (by Sid Smith)

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Personnel:
Brian Davison (drums, percussion, whistle)
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Lee Jackson (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Rondo (Davison/O’List/Emerson/Jackson) 7.01
02. Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Davison/O’List/Emerson/Jackson) 13.48
03. Little Arabella (Emerson/Jackson) 6.24
04. She Belongs To Me (Dylan) 13.18

CD 2:
01. Country Pie (Dylan) 6.14
02. Five Bridges Suite (Emerson/Jackson) 13.54
03. Hang On To A Dream (Hardin) 7.30
04. Intermezzo: Karelia Suite (Sibelius) 12.30
05. America (Bernstein/Sondheim) 7.51
06. War And Peace (Davison/O’List/Emerson/Jackson)

 

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Keith EmersonKeith Emerson (2 November 1944 – 11 March 2016)