Guest Author - Sue Sutherland-Wood
It’s not possible to do justice to Canadian jazz musician Oscar Peterson in the passage of a few short words but I thought it was high time to at least pay tribute to such a joyous, funky guy of such huge, monumental talent. And let’s be clear. Although I would never, ever suggest that Peterson’s playing be relegated to mere “background music” or “easy listening” - my most hated and forbidden musical descriptors - that being said, you can still make an Oscar Peterson playlist for your party that is almost assured to be perfect for just about any occasion. Peterson makes the piano sound cheeky, poignant or laid wide open. His speed and accuracy is meteoric without losing substance. The floaty up beat jazz he produces – fluid, never jarring and fresh as spring linen on the line - provides the perfect lure to get people asking on Monday “What was that piano music you were playing at your party? It was amazing!”
And it is.
If you’re familiar with Oscar Peterson already - I’m deeply relieved - but you may still have yet to encounter this particular cd, a re-release on the much lauded Verve label entitled “Oscar Peterson Plays the Cole Porter Songbook.”
And really, what could be better than Oscar Peterson and Cole Porter? Or rather, Oscar Peterson channeling and then re-inventing Cole Porter at lightning speed and presenting it it back to us as we’ve never heard it before. This is a cd to come back to again and again. You don’t have to be a jazz fan to love this album but it may certainly inspire some of you to seek out more of Peterson’s work. This whole cd reminds me of early Woody Allen movies and of course romance ...
On the cd, Peterson is joined by the very able Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. Producer was Norman Granz who incidentally, was Peterson’s lifelong friend and manager. Only caveat with this one: the sound is slightly variable (perhaps a mono recording given its age?) but discriminating listeners may be disappointed. (I am not personally of this number … check out “I Love Paris” it’s magical!) Press the "Play" icon below to sample!