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