Sunday, July 17, 2016

Oscar Peterson on the Town

This reissue of Oscar Peterson's live Toronto recording in the Desert Island Discs series at Verve brings to light the question that jazz audiences were debating at the time. With Peterson's legerdemain rhythmic possibilities, his knotting, shimmering waves of notes, his insanely huge harmonic structures, and his dense clusters played in every solo, half the jazz populace wondered if all the swinging noodling might be a skillful medicine show while the other half considered it genius. No matter. One thing that everyone agreed on: No matter how busy his busy got — and this album illustrates the rule since it's in a live setting — Peterson always, always swung, particularly with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. The set opens with "Sweet Georgia Brown" and it's all bets off as to what Peterson will do next. He skitters from one melodic possibility to the next while Ellis creates a dynamic flow of fresh ideas to keep the music full and bright. There are blues here, and they are gutbucket blues. They come from Ellis' guitar during this late '50s period more than at any other time in his life. But they come from Brown and Peterson too, and that's where the argument loses the wind in its sails: Everything this trio played was rooted in a blues so pervasive, so swinging, so hot, it could not be anything but truly fine jazz. Peterson's musical appetite matched his physical stature, and it is reflected in the selections here, which all seem to segue into one another : "Should I," "When the Lights Are Low," "Pennies From Heaven," "Moonlight in Vermont," and others through to "Love Is Here to Stay." All are reinvented and reinterpreted through the science of harmonic invention and rhythmic interval unique to this Oscar Peterson Trio. And while the plates and glasses rattle and tinkle, the jazz continues to burn, full of joy and light and just a hint of smoke. In 1958 this was a night to remember ; in the 21st Century it's a disc to memorize in the depths of the heart.
Thom Jurek

Source :

Oscar Peterson
On the Town
with the
Oscar Peterson Trio


1 Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie, Casey, Pinkard)  7:47
2 Should I ? (Brown, Freed)  5:04
3 When Lights Are Low (Carter, Williams)  5:57
4 Easy Listening Blues (Robinson)  6:48
5 Pennies from Heaven (Burke, Johnston)  7:22
6 The Champ (Gillespie)  5:25
7 Moonlight in Vermont (Blackburn, Suessdorf)  6:05
8 Baby, Baby All the Time (Troup)  6:49
9 I Like to Recognize the Tune (Hart, Rodgers)  4:17
10 Joy Spring (Brown)  9:01
11 Gal in Calico (Robin, Schwartz)  5:16
12 Love Is Here to Stay (Gershwin, Gershwin)  7:42

* Tracks 8-12 are previously unissued


Oscar Peterson - p
Herb Ellis - g
Ray Brown - b

Recorded at the Town Tavern, Toronto, Canada ; July 5, 1958


Anonymous said...

thanks for all this great music. I've never heard any of this.
love it of course

boro boy said...

This looks like an absolute gem, melanchthon, looking forward to giving it an hearing tonight.

Many thanks.

deGallo said...

Oscar Peterson-On The Town...thank you. I'm really enjoying this.

stringbender said...

Hi Mel - Thanks so much for posting this very swinging Oscar Peterson side.

Kovina Kris said...

Yeehaw! I've been hoping to find this one and how awesome to get it here where the posts are always of the highest quality and attention to detail. Add to that the must-have status of the music and this is truly as good as it gets. Thank you very much Mel!

neil said...

Been living with mp3s since 2007, mel, so many thanks for the opportunity to upgrade...

fcapeau said...

It's always the same pleasure with the Oscar trio Piano/Bass/Guitar : it hasn't dated at all.A big thank you, Mel, for this royal post.

gsh said...

pw please...

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you for this solid, swinging set, Mel!

Melanchthon said...

Peter said...

Dear Melanchthon,

great stuff, thank you.

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks again and again Mel.

Gil said...


AmyBRAINS said...


Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

jazzandylan said...

Thank you Mel.

Starchild said...

Many thanks Mel!