Telarc makes questionable judgment calls, as attested by the number of albums on the label that languish on my shelf after a single playing. Indeed, these are arguably the three tallest of the tall on their respective instruments accompanied by a young drummer, Kariem Riggins, who probably swings harder than anyone else his age (check out his work on Ray Brown Trio "Live at Starbucks," one of the last recordings by the powerful bassist, with the precocious Geoff Keezer on piano). But sentiment aside, the results on this second collection of music released from the 1998 Blue Note date are quite tepid, barely representative of these three giants in their glory days. My hope that Riggins and Brown would somehow bail it out didn't quite materialize. Nothing "wrong" with the music: Brown is at the top of his game, Bags close to it, and Oscar is recuperating and playing tasteful figures in his right hand. Moreover, it's a better investment than Telarc's "Tribute to Oscar Peterson," but what's the point? It's an album that should be purchased only by 1. those who were in attendance and wish a recorded souvenir of the experience and/or 2. those who own at least 25 albums of Peterson at full strength.
The best bet these days is the collection of mid to late '60s albums ("Exclusively for My Friends") alternating Ray Brown and Sam Jones and recorded with pristine clarity and raw Bosendorfer power in Germany by Hans-Brunner Schwer for his demanding MPS label. Also, there are bargains to be had with sessions like "Last Call at the Blue Note" (pre-stroke Oscar) and unexpected treasures like "Eddie Lockjaw Davis at Montreux '77," on which the tenor great and power pianist are all but guaranteed to shake the pins loose from your present living quarters. In fact, used copies of the latter two sessions are inexplicably going for 2-3 bucks, which is all I'd expect to get for the Very Tall Band (or Telarc's anemic "Art Blakey Tribute Band" release).