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Oscar Peterson Plays The George Gershwin Songbook

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 27, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two brilliant '50s LPs ( Plays the Gershwin Songbook and Plays George Gershwin ) on one CD!

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Oscar Peterson made two trips through the Gershwin repertoire, one in 1952 and another in 1959 after the advent of stereo. As with Oscar Peterson Plays the Duke Ellington Songbook, this disc compiles both sessions, the earlier one with a trio of guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Brown, the later one with Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. The later session is programmed first. The earlier group drew its conception from the Nat "King" Cole trio, a lightly swinging blend that benefits from a third highly adept soloist in Kessel. The later group is more conventional, but it sometimes draws meatier, more forceful playing from an older Peterson. The contrast is apparent in the two versions of "It Ain't Necessarily So." On both sessions, the emphasis is on the tunes, and Peterson sparkles on uptempos and ballads alike. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 27, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000004716
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Anyone who loves jazz will not miss Oscar Peterson in his/her jazz vocabulary. An extraordinary pianist known for his improvisation and distinctive style, Mr. Peterson is one of the greatest jazz icons who has recorded and performed myriads of the best melodies of all-time, most notably the compositions of a musical genius, George Gershwin, who had endless capabilities of composing melodious tunes that are so pleasing to the ears.

This remarkable CD consists of some of the most-loved Gershwin tunes. The last half were recorded in 1952 backed by Peterson's long-time collaborators and two of the best musicians in the jazz scene, Ray Brown and Barney Kessel. The first twelve were recorded in 1959 with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. There are two equally outstanding versions of "Love Walked In" (tracks 3 & 24), "It Ain't Necessarily So" (tracks 1 & 15), "I Was Doing All Right" (tracks 4 & 19), "A Foggy Day" (tracks 5 & 23), "Lady Be Good" (tracks 6 & 21) and "The Man I Love" (tracks 2 & 13).

My favorites? These are all lively performances, but my choices include "A Foggy Day," "Love Walked In," "I've Got A Crush On You," "Love Is Here To Stay," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "The Man I Love" and " 'S Wonderful."

This is one great CD to own. I listen to it when I'm in a bubbly mood. I'm pretty sure that you will enjoy listening to it as much as I do. It's more than an hour of listening pleasure not only for Gershwin and Peterson aficionados, but also for anyone who appreciates lively and vibrant piano music.

Wholeheartedly recommended!
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Format: Audio CD
Oscar Peterson + George Gershwin. What a combination! Peterson and his veteran trio sound brilliant on this gorgeous disc. My wife, a recent jazz fan, loves this disc. It has a bouyant, ebulient, feel to it while simultaneously being an essential after hours recording. I have to give props to bassist Ray Brown who just kicks a$$ here. Peterson often sounds restrained here, which is a bit different, yet he is no less inspired or fiery. As for the songs, well, its Gershwin. What more do you need to know?
Essential.
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Format: Audio CD
The 1st 12 songs were the ones actually released on the original album. A Foggy Day when Oscar hits the bridge (Middle Part) where he plays the melody so graciously almost angelic to a point with Ray Brown walking his distinct bass lines the song mezmorizes you. You'll keep playing it over and over. Many of the 1st 12 songs are like that. I believe the trio's interpretation of melody was at its zenith when it recorded this album. Can Jazz be a thing of beauty and grace? This album says so.
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By A Customer on January 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a powerful but mellow recording. An organically and yet mindfull playing. I could say that listening to 'It ain't necessarily so' it would be enough, but I'm glad to realise that there's so much more to find in this album. It's definitely beautiful.
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Format: Audio CD
I own every album in the Oscar Peterson 'plays songbook' series and this is among my favorites. I love it for a few reasons.

First, it's interesting to hear Peterson's growth as a musician during the seven year period in with the first twelve tracks were recorded in 1959, and his 1952 work for the remaining ones. There is a marked difference between the Oscar Peterson of 1959 and the earlier one.

Second, I love the contrast between Oscar's piano-bass-drum trio on the first twelve tracks versus the piano-bass-guitar trio on the last tracks. While the first tracks emphasize both melody and rhythm, the melodic and harmonic richness of the last twelve tracks have a beauty that makes me realize that drummers are not as essential as my ego would dictate. Musically this entire album is worth closely studying if you are a musician, and especially if you are part of a rhythm section.

There is a definite difference in the sound quality between the first and second sets on the album. This is because recording technology had dramatically improved between the 1952 and 1959 sessions. Fortunately the mastering on this compilation minimizes the differences - to a degree.

This compilation clocks in at 1:11:39 and to my ears there is not a dud among the twenty-four tracks. The best way to get a sense of the sound quality and the differences between the two sessions is to listen to the sound samples on this page. They will also allow you to quickly hear the differences between the two trio formats. Those sound snippets will convey more about this album in a few seconds for each track than I can possibly describe in words.

For my fellow jazz geeks here is the background information on the tracks.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two albums on one CD and a lot to like despite a few repeats. Guitarist Barney Kessel keeps pace with Oscar's kinetic right hand
on second half--no mean feat, and a real treat. Kinda quiet, with a few up-tempo cuts. Great for 70 minutes of party background--
discriminating guests of a certain age will smile and ask to borrow it. And you'll say yes, because it's all about keeping this music
alive and well.
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I love Gershwin and I love Oscar Peterson so what more could I ask. Well, actually what I would have liked would have been if Mr Peterson could have expanded his interpretation of the tunes. That would have been even more wonderful. Instead of say, 3 minutes, to a minute or so longer - perfect. However, in the circumstances, I just repeat my first sentence.
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