14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2007
Having grown up with the popular music of the 60s, 70s, 80s etc and loved music from Classical to Heavy Metal but not Jazz. In the past two years I have been introduced to Oscar Peterson and I could almost throw all other genres away after living with this album for the last six months. This is absolute total musical perfection and an awesome early 60s recording.
Looking forward to getting to know other albums.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is the Oscar Peterson album that everybody should have. Committed followers know its one of the very best, and newcomers won't find anything too dificult on it. This is the first CD I ever bought 21 years ago and I've been playing it ever since.
The basic feel of the album is blues. C Jam Blues, Night Train, Thing Ain't What They Used To Be, Moten Swing and Honey Dripper are all blues or blues related. However there's great variety amongst these tracks, contrast the mellow version of "Things Ain't What..." with the swinging version of "Honey Dripper".
On this album Peterson makes everything sound effortless, whether its his uptempo playing or superb ballad playing (such as on I Ain't Got It Bad..). My favourite track is Ellingtons Band Call. At the end of the track Oscar plays 3 increasingly syncopated resolutions leading on the 4th occasion to the end of the tune.
Perhaps the only thing you don't get on this album is the virtuoso Peterson (try the "The Trio" or "Tracks" for this). Sure some of this stuff requires excellent technique, but even at this level Oscar still has another gear.
As previous reviewers have said, special mention should be made of "Hymn To Freedom". This is a marvellous Peterson original with a great performance. A fitting way to end a superb album.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Resistance is futile.
I`ve never understood criticism of Oscar Peterson, whether the complaint that he `plays too many notes` or that his playing is in some way facile, his musical points too easily earned, so to speak. They said similar things about Mozart, and he didn`t do too badly for himself in the end, either.
I must have more albums with Oscar Peterson on than almost any other jazz musician, so many times was he used as a sideman on someone else`s date - which says much for his standing among his peers, who would hardly have wanted him on the keys if they hadn`t respected and admired him.
Dedicated to his father, a sleeping-car attendant on Canadian Pacific Railways (OP being a Canadian himself of course) what strikes the listener to this typically immaculate set is the room everyone has to breathe, solos taking place in a background of measured ease. Peterson could play just about anything, and he has with him two superlative musicians in tasteful, chunky bassist Ray Brown (1926-2002) and the crisp and even drumming of Ed Thigpen (1930-2010). The uptempo numbers swing like hell, Oscar playing with clarity and endless invention. He could do a slow tune to break your heart, and, happily, there are quite a few here among all the high spirits. Try "I Got It Bad" - beautiful!
There are times - eg. on Easy Does It - where I could have done with a guitar to break the trio spell, perhaps a solo from Barney Kessel or Kenny Burrell, but no matter, there`s a lovely lazy breadth to the playing that needs no gilding of lilies.
On this remastered edition, with extra tracks, Peterson`s piano has a glorious gleam to it, the bass is heard as clear as could be, and the whole thing smacks of class.
A classic recording.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2007
I love this album. I listened to Oscar when i was a child, my dad was always playing it and countless other jazz records and it reminds me of good times. Setting aside nostalgia this makes me realise just how talented Oscar Peterson is, hes one of very few pianists that still gives me the shivers. I can truely relate to this recording and i shall look out for more classic Peterson Trio recordings in the future. There isnt a dud in this collection, its a true classic worthy of 10 stars at least and I hope you love it as much I do.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2001
This is an impeccably constructed selection of favourites, performed with the delicacy of touch and inherent melodic sense that Peterson displays in his finest moments.
Is it possible to derive greater enjoyment from jazz than this? I ask myself this question every time I listen to this album. It's built like the great pop albums: at the end of each song, you immediately anticipate the start of the next, and experience gleeful pleasure when you hear that piano again.
The trio -one of the most celebrated piano trios in the history of the music- is tight, swinging, exquisitely balanced. Peterson's most personal moment on the album is perhaps the final "Hymn to Freedom". It is such a moving piece I'm often driven to playing it for its own sake, but nothing gives it greater emotional power than the music that precedes it. It's as if the whole album were recorded just to provide a context for "Hymn" to stand out in this way. A jubilant record is closed a with a pensive poem.
The record is dedicated to Peterson's father, a sleeping-car attendant on Canadian Pacific Railways.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I came to Oscar Peterson by a bit of a circuitous route. I heard his as a backing musician on Ella Fitzgerald's Ellington songbook, and then, as I am a huge Louis Armstrong fan, I heard his collaboration with the great Satch (Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson). I loved that record, he and the others in the trio worked very well with Louis to provide some sublime jazz, so I decided to track down a bit more by this great musician.
Night Train seems to be his most popular album, so this is where I have started. The music contained herein is just superb, and I have not been disappointed with the choice.
Peterson's piano style is elegant. Not as sparse as Basie or Ellington, with a few more flourishes that stamps his own brand on each of the tracks played. I could (and have) listen to him play all day. The rest of the trio are no slouches either, each has his own voice and is given room in which to express himself.
The choice of tracks is interesting, there are definite nods to the past, with a few old standards, but played in a style that looks towards the future and recognises that jazz was changing and evolving. Peterson and co weld the two worlds of modern and old together into a perfect whole that is a joy to listen to.
This release from Verve is up to their usual standards. The disc contains the original album and a host of interesting unreleased tracks and alternate takes. By and large these add to the album. The sound quality is excellent, really pin sharp on my stereo. There is an interesting booklet, with a recording details and a short essay.
A really great swinging foot-tapper with some of the best jazz I have heard. Recommended to all fans of the genre.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2006
There is not much that can be said, that hasn't already been written about this album. This is definative Oscar Peterson and should be in everyones collection. It is also by the best trio that Oscar Peterson ever had,and has truly stood the test of time. In short, if you havn't got it, get this essential album NOW.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2004
Unlike many jazz piano lovers, I have never thought Oscar Peterson was showing off or playing too many notes, though I also love Count Basie, whose sparse playing goes in the opposite direction.
This album is wonderfully appealing and, could be a great place to start with Oscar if you aren't yet acquainted with his music.
I love every track [but only have the original CD], and appreciate the variety on the recording, from C Jam Blues with its distinctive percussion and piano and double bass solos, to slow ballads like Hymn To Freedom and Things Ain't What They Used To Be through rollicking songs like Night Train and Moten Swing.
Another terrific album is Tracks, which is one of few solo recordings.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2000
What the Amazon listing shows is the original track list. As fresh as ever - albeit a slightly artificial environment given that these are recorded as 3 minute pop selections. When you buy this - and if you own the original vinyl, or indeed earlier CD re-issues - you'll find this is now a 67 minute treat, including tracks such as Volare which never made the original album, and a number of great outtakes from the original sessions. If you ever wondered (as I did) why the spine of your old vinyl copy says 'Night Train (Volume 1)', then this may go some way towards explaining it!
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2003
Straight to the point; beg, borrow or steal this album or you a poorer person -- I live for tracks like 'Things Ain't What It Used To Be' and 'C-Jam Blues' and so should you. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with this, especially if you are a fan of Duke Ellington. There are quite a few tracks on this album written by him, but what is amazing is how OP has arranged them for his trio but still managed to keep the intensity of a big band.
The last track, 'Hymn To Freedom', is one of the most beautiful jazz pieces I have ever heard and, being about the racial depression in the 60s, it is certainly an emotional one. One of the previous reviews says that it is worth it just for the bonus tracks -- if it were the bonus tracks AND 'Hymn To Freedom', I would absolutely agree. In fact, listening to the bonus tracks, I could not see why some of them weren't the final takes.
If you don't already have this album, you have no excuse! Buy it, you are missing out.