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



Blue Classic Line 7624


Tracks 1 – 12 & 14 – 21 Oscar Peterson – piano, Austin Roberts – bass. Montreal 1951.

Track 13 Oscar Peterson – piano, Ray Brown – bass. New York 1950.

      1. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
      2. I’ve Got Rhythm
      3. Tea For Two
      4. The Man I Love
      5. Rose Room
      6. Yesterdays
      7. Seven Come Eleven
      8. Just You
      9. To A Wild Rose
      10. Air Mail Special
      11. Night And Day
      12. Get Happy
      13. Oscar’s Blues
      14. For You
      15. Pennies From Heaven
      16. Whispering
      17. Body And Soul
      18. Flying Home
      19. Hungarian Dance
      20. Gypsy In My Soul
      21. (I Don’t Stand A) Ghost Of A Chance


Oscar Peterson must be one of the most widely known pianists in the history of jazz, his style and class are synonymous with what is now referred to as the modern mainstream. However, this disc may come as quite a surprise to anyone who is unfamiliar with his earliest work. His roots in Art Tatum and Nat "King" Cole are plainly displayed here for all to see. What is even more fascinating is how much Peterson had assimilated the be-bop movement into his performances at this time. " I Got Rhythm" is full of quotes from modern jazz standards including "Anthropology".

Having recently read Peterson’s excellent autobiography, I was most interested to note what an amazing similarity there is in many of these performances to the playing of the amazing Bud Powell at this time. This is doubly strange in that Oscar Peterson hardly has a good word to say about this truly unique pianist of the early modern era. I have always been a great admirer of both musicians and find it difficult to accept that the Canadian can so easily dismiss his American counterpart. For all Peterson’s astonishing technique, I would have to say that I consider Powell to have been a far more gifted and original pianist at this point in the history of the music. I can only conclude that there was some animosity or personal jealousy between the two masters of the keyboard.

Ignoring the above dilemma, I must say that the music contained herein is absolutely superb. Peterson’s ideas and execution are immaculate throughout this selection of well loved standards. This represents an essential purchase for anyone unfamiliar with the first crop of recordings from this true giant of jazz.

Dick Stafford.

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