This is just a fantastic album. Joe Pass and NHOP are Oscars partners in this 1973 club recording. Oscar was probably at his virtuoso peak at this time, and this is probably the most technically proficient trio he ever had.
The recording quality isn't fantastic, and the album is only about 40 mins long, but this an essential purchase if you're an Oscar fan or if you're somebody who wants to see what all the fuss was about.
There are only five tracks, of which the first three tracks are basically blues. Blues Etude starts the album off at a stratospheric tempo. The solo Piano break near the end of this track is quite astonishing. The next two tracks are not quite as immediately breath-taking but still show the lie that "Oscar sounded like he had to learn to play the Blues". Thats a Miles quote and wonderful as Miles was, he was wrong about Oscar.
Listen to this album and you'll see why.
I struggle to name an Oscar Peterson album that is better than this one. With NHOP on bass and Joe Pass on Guitar this is the most technically accomplished trio of Oscar Petersons career.
As an example of how to play the blues you can do no better than listen to Chicago blues. This is stunning playing. The tempo is not particulary fast but Peterson burns up the keyboard, and it is more than just a lot of notes. There are some wonderful rhythmic nuances which keep what is a long piece (13:42) interesting. You could equate these nuances to gear changes.
Interestingly you can get a sheet music transcription of Petersons first solo from Chicago blues. Its published in the marvellous volume of sheet music "Oscar Peterson Note for Note". This solo amounts to 27 pages!
The album was recorded in 1973 and although the album is short its an essential purchase for any fans of Jazz or Blues Piano playing. Benny Green says in his excellent sleeve notes "I would not, of course, have the temerity to compare Oscar's piano playing with Pre-Raphaelite art, it is far too good for that", and that about sums it up. The technical skills displayed on this album alone justify Oscars place in music history.
on 11 November 2004
This is an incredible album. The first three tracks are just the blues; but this is blues played with incredible technique and in the case of Blues Etude played astonishingly fast. For any musicians out there its worth getting the official transcription
of track 2 or 3 (I forget which) which is available in sheet music. The lines are incredible not to mention virtually unplayable for us mere mortals. This is perhaps the most technically proficient group Oscar ever had (Joe Pass and NHOP) and whilst there are many better albums that show the depth of feeling in Oscars ballad playing, this is the album to get if you want to hear Oscar with the after burners on! My only problem with it is that its a bit short....
on 10 July 2012
Oscar Peterson always held very high standards, when it came to his own performance and those of his co-musicians, and The O.P./Joe Pass/Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen must be his best trio ever.
The length of the 5 tracks on this CD gives the musicians time to "stretch-out" solo-wise with the emphasis on blues, and as usual the opening track "Blues Etude" is delivered in a supersonic speed, whereas "Chicago Blues" and "Easy listening blues" are easy going 12 bar blues with the latter as the best one.
Jose Pass has a beautiful solo on "Sunday", and finally the trio swings out in "Secret love", and the organic pulse of NHOP's bass is just great.
A wonderful CD (incidentally the track and playing time of "Secret love" is not, as printed, 10:19, but 7:16).
on 10 March 2011
I have had this recording for many years on LP but I decided I would have it on CD. The interplay of Oscar Peterson on piano and Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen bass and Joe Pass guitar is superb. There is some great blues playing and the tempos vary. Peterson has made other great recordings in the London House, Chicago earlier in the sixties and he obviously feels relaxed in that setting. It helps that the recording is live and you can hear the appreciation of the audience. This is straight reissue of the LP and is only 38 minutes. I suspect there was more material recorded at the same time and the CD could have up to 70 minutes or more. John Voaden