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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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The Stuttgart Concert

Inakustik INAK 6479 DVD



2. Who Can I Turn To?
3. Soft Winds
4. Love Ballade
5. Cakewalk
6. Medley: My Foolish Heart/Body And Soul
7. City Lights
8. Sushi
9. Medley: I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good/Satin Doll/C-Jam Blues/Lush Life/Caravan
10. Blues Etude

Oscar Peterson - Piano
Dave Young - Double bass
Martin Drew - Drums


The sleeve-note says that this DVD was filmed at the ZDF Jazz Club in Stuttgart, which is probably true. But I doubt two other statements: one that the drummer is Kenny Drew (it's actually Martin Drew); the other is that bassist Dave Young was "a regular member of Peterson's trio for 25 years", as he only worked with Oscar for limited periods.

At any rate, both drummer and bassist support Oscar with superb skill. They contribute several noteworthy solos as well as staying alert to anticipate Peterson's every move, which can't be easy as Oscar is often unpredictable. One area where he is predictable is in the runs which he frequently interpolates in the midst of solos - especially on slow tunes - which often sound familiar, particularly when he plays in octaves. But the same might be said of one of Peterson's idols: Art Tatum.

Otherwise Oscar is as surprising and versatile as ever - equally capable of swinging like the clappers and caressing ballads tenderly. He illustrates both styles in Who Can I Turn To?, with a gorgeous unaccompanied slow section followed by a storming up-tempo. Soft Winds has a splendid passage where piano and bass share a solo.

Love Ballade is the first of four compositions by Peterson, starting like a classical study before jazzing it up slightly but not so much as to lose the classical poise. Cakewalk - another Oscar original - makes a good contrast to the previous tune with a fast bluesy improvisation. After bass and drums play flag-waving solos, Oscar comes in again unaccompanied, including some vigorous stride piano. Peterson turns My Foolish Heart and Body and Soul into a ballad medley decorated with filigree patterns and plenty of those octave runs.

The medley of five Duke Ellington tunes brings about some fascinating juxtapositions and transitions, with the heart-stopping pause in Satin Doll which Oscar's trio has made its own. C-Jam Blues has a speedy boogie beat; Lush Life is short but thoughtful; and the ultra-fast Caravan is driven by Peterson's unbelievable left-hand riff. Blues Etude makes a rousing encore.

Having seen Oscar Peterson so often in concert and on film, I feared I might be bored by yet another Oscar disc, but the sheer brilliance of this trio keeps you spellbound.

Tony Augarde

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