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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CD Review: Oscar Peterson - Exclusively for My friends (8 CD Album).


(Review by Lance).
Imagine meeting up with a former girlfriend - someone you loved very much until,  as these things happen, you drift apart. Fifty years on you meet up again and, amazingly, she's more beautiful than you remembered (don't spoil it Russell by saying 'You should have went to Specsavers'). I know it's most unlikely visually but audio-wise it's happened here! 
Peterson's series of MPS recordings issued back in the 1960's were, for me, the pinnacle of his recording career. The technique, as formidable as ever but with a sensitivity and feeling that seemed to diminish over the years, only returning when a stroke curtailed the Gung Ho approach he'd adapted in his later TV years.
Recorded before a select audience at the home of SABA/MPS record supremo George Brunner-Schwer, Peterson, arguably, played as he'd never played before or since - at least on record.
The recordings took place over a period of years at GBS' villa in the Black Forest in front of a select audience. These sessions have become the stuff of legend. A legend I heartily subscribe to. The track, Waltzing is Hip from album 3 was the first jazz waltz I'd ever heard that really grabbed me and, I think, it may still be my favourite on this beautiful collection.
I bought the original four LP set - Exclusively for My Friends - and, for months on end, I played them incessantly. This, despite there being ne'er a saxophone in sight! Perhaps the culmination of a [musical] love affair that began when I first heard Oscar in 1955 at Newcastle City Hall.
Of course, as time passed, other albums came along and, gradually, like a former lover, became just a fond memory. You know the thing then, years later, you have a few beers, stick it on the dusty turntable and maybe give the ex a phone call on her birthday. Bad decision either way. You find that the styli sticks on your favourite track or a guy answers the phone as you're about to sing Happy Birthday to the love of his life!
Back to the music! This is where I stick my neck out and say that this is the greatest collection of jazz piano music ever recorded by a single artist - certainly, thanks to GBS, his sound was never captured better on disc and it hasn't diminished in the CD format.
Apart from the original four albums, there were two more which I hadn't acquired and a further two albums of Lost Tapes one of which was released many years later and one of unissued tracks including a Peterson vocal, sung in a Nat King Coleish voice - A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening with the vocal group Singers Unlimited. This is indeed a lovely way to spend an evening!
To top it all, there's a 60 page booklet of interviews, background notes and track details.
If you find yourself having to move into smaller promises - like a cardboard box - and find there is only room for 8 CDs this is the one. As regards Reissue CD of the Year all bets are off - now it's down to deciding which of the 8 discs has hit the front - Has there ever been an octuple dead heat?!
Lance.
1) Action: Oscar Peterson (pno); Ray Brown (bs);; Ed Thigpen (dms). 1963/8
2) Girl Talk: Peterson; Brown/Sam Jones (bs); Louis Hayes/Bobby Durham (dms). 1965/8.
3) The Way I Really Play: Peterson; Jones; Durham. Nov. 1967.
4) My Favourite Instrument: Peterson (solo pno). 1968.
5) Mellow Mood: Peterson; Jones; Durham. 1968.
6) Travelin' On: Peterson; Jones; Durham. 1968.
7) The Lost Tapes 1: Peterson; Brown/Sam Jones (bs); Louis Hayes/Bobby Durham (dms). 1965/8
8): The Lost Tapes 2: Peterson; Brown; Thigpen. Milt Jackson (vbs); Hayes for Thigpen on 1 track; Joe Mraz (bs); Hayes (dms) + Singers Unlimited on 1 track. 1963-1971.
Release date Oct. 2, 2015, from all good retailers or Amazon.


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