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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

This is

At the piano

Bluebird 09026 63990 2


Disc 1

    1. I Got Rhythm
    2. Louise
    3. My Blue Heaven
    4. The Sheik of Araby
    5. Flying Home
    6. C Jam Blues
    7. (If I Could Be With You) One Hour (Tonight)
    8. Humoresque
    9. Blue Moon
    10. In A Little Spanish Town
    11. Time on my Hands
    12. China Boy
    13. Runnin’ Wild
    14. Sweet Lorraine The Honey Dripper
    15. East of the Sun

Plus alternative takes of 2,9,10,1112,13,14,15 & 16
Tracks 1-4 & 17
Oscar Petersen - Piano
Bert Brown – Bass
Frank Gariepy – Drums
Tracks 5-8
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Bert Brown – Bass
Armand Samson – Guitar
Roland Verdon – Drums
Tracks 9-16 & 18-25
Russ Dufor replaces Gariepy

Disc 2

    1. Indiana
    2. Margie
    3. I surrender Dear
    4. Ghost of a Chance
    5. Oscar’s Boogie
    6. Smiles
    7. Stairway to the Stars
    8. Poor Butterfly
    9. Oop-Bop-Sh-Bam
    10. Sweet Georgia Brown
    11. Sleepy Time Gal
    12. Rockin’ in Rhythm
    13. Fine and dandy
    14. My Heart Stood Still
    15. Somebody Loves Me
    16. At Sundown

Plus alternative takes of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 & 8
Tracks 1-4 & 17-20
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Albert King – Bass
Mark Wilkinson – Drums
Tracks 5-8 and 21-24
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Austin Roberts – Bass
Clarence Jones – Drums
Tracks 13-16
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Austin Roberts – Bass
Clarence Jones – Drums

These were the first recordings that Oscar Peterson made, in 1945 he was 19 and hardly known outside his native Canada. Oscar himself is less than pleased at having this old material released, because whilst at is of great interest from a musical historians point of view, it is not representative of his work. The story goes that the 19 year old was already well established on the Montreal Jazz and Dance Band scene, but realised there were greater deeds to be done. With persuasion from his Mum, he phoned up the president of RCA in Montreal and said I’m Oscar Peterson and I want to make a record. The man he spoke to was Hugh Joseph and I find it hard to believe that Mr Joseph had not heard Oscar Peterson at that time. Hugh Joseph invited Oscar to the studio to record, but the problem for Oscar was that Hugh Joseph was employed by RCA to maximise there profits and he knew he would not do that by appealing solely to jazz fans, there has never been enough of them! Oscar, as these recordings demonstrate, had by this time such a technique that he could play any style to order, be it Art Tatum, Nat Cole, Stride Piano or Boogie-Woogie. As a newcomer to the studio, he was not in a position to insist on playing the way he wanted. What Hugh Joseph wanted was flashy performances, particularly Boogie-Woogie, that he thought would sell records. It is also evident that the immediately identifiable Oscar Peterson style was only just beginning to emerge on the tracks recorded in 1949.

Oscar Peterson would get my vote as the greatest jazz pianist of all times, but these records are really of more interest to the jazz historian than to his millions of fans. Sure it is interesting to hear how he started his recording career, but not for 2 hours 20 minutes! Just what a jazz giant Oscar Peterson is, can be judged from the fact that these records would be regarded as fantastic from anyone else! We know just how much more there is to Oscar Peterson however.

Don Mather

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