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16
3.9 out of 5 stars
Songbooks (Amazon Edition)
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Price:£7.99
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The new (May 2012) 3 CD set is a great release bringing together the early and late 1950s sessions. These are transfers from disc and the quality is very good indeed. Price wise a good deal. Liner notes and packaging for the 3 CD set excellent and slimpack format attractive. Not Now have done us proud again and now have a superb catalogue of classic jazz.

This set brings together 6 song books and that is 2 each for Cole Porter; Duke Ellington and The Gershwin's. The time scale covers 1951 at the earliest and 1959 at the latest with albums originally released on the Mercury and Verve labels. All the sessions are produced by Norman Granz and recorded in either Los Angeles or Chicago.

Each collection are presented here has a total of 24 compositions many of which are immediately recognisable as the best of the 20th Century song book. In each case it does not take longer than seconds to hear the wonderful phrasing that Oscar Peterson adds to each number. Given that there are 72 tracks you would expect there to be exceptional performances and there are and for me it is the combination of a tight knit group of musicians that produce the goods.

2 CD earlier set from Not Now Music...
The songbooks have always been popular and were a defining period in the career of Oscar Peterson. The 2 CD set offers The Duke Ellington; Jerome Kern; Count Basie and Harry Warren & Vincent Youmans Songbooks with recording dates 1952 to 1956.
Again, these are record to CD transfers that have been digitally remastered and what you get for the price is amazing. All originally produced by Norman Granz the sidesmen include Ray Brown, bass on all songbooks, Barney Kessell, guitar and Buddy Rich, drums.
You could buy each one of these songbooks but with 4 on offer here I'd replace your old albums with this set.
Many of the performances are definitive and with so much to listen to it is genuinely hard to say which is my favourite but if pressed I'd say "The Jerome Kern Songbook" for the fine composition and playing.
Sleeve notes by Peter Gamble and the re-issue produced by Glenn Gretlund for Not Now Music.
Look out also for Everybody Digs Bill Evans on NOT2CD299.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2010
Don't be put off this release by some of the above comments or the fact that a 10 CD release is now available at less than a tenner. This disc consists of four albums only one of which is on the Avid box set, namely the Ellington songbook. Of the others, the Kern Songbook and the Warren & Youmans Songbooks are examples of Peterson re visiting these composers with his bass and drums trio. Ignore the given recording dates given for these two. They almost certainly come from later in the 1950s and are, in my opinion, far superior to the original piano, guitar and bass efforts. The remaining set, "The Count Basie Songbook" is a bit of a misnomer in that Basie did not write or co-write more than four of the tracks. It is, however, an enjoyable session and does not appear on the Avid release. In conclusion, I can thoroughly recommend this CD as good value for money and an ideal companion to the Avid release.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2013
Only 4 stars for this one, and really I would have given it 3.5, but Amazon doesn't allow for halfs.

The rating is not of course due to Oscar Peterson's playing, which imho is perfectly flawless as usual. The rating is for the sound quality for around 50% of the 3 disk set. Each disc has two whole albums recorded, the first half of each from early 1950s and the latter from late 1950s. The first half of each album sound quality is poor with an audible hiss on every track plus vibration from the instruments when volume is set at moderate to high. The set is billed as having been digitally remastered, but I have serious doubts about that. Had they even applied Dolby B to the earlier album tracks it would have made a huge difference.

Neverthelsss, I have to say that for the price the set is a fair price, although on my playlists I won't be including any of the earlier tracks.
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on 8 September 2012
This is a bargain package of the Songbooks by Oscar. If you are a music student/performer studying the "Great American Songbook", these interpretations are essential. There's plenty of song melody present with controlled improvisation. Yes the sound quality is disappointing, particularly if you only ever listen to modern CDs. It's possible this music was transferred from old vinyl and then a poor "computer-enhancement" was attempted. The 1952 recordings (tracks 1-12 each disc) are the poorest sound. If that bothers you, dont buy this. What disappoints me is I was hoping there would be a booklet, there's only one inner cover side devoted to sleeve notes.
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on 31 May 2012
I don't know how Amazon links reviews to products but yet again they seem to have linked this BRAND NEW TITLE to an INCORRECT older existing product!

However I agree with what the majority of the reviewers were saying, this is great value for money given that you get 3CDs of Peterson playing some of the greatest songs ever written (by Porter, Ellington, Gershwin) for under £7 (value for money always pleases me) The sound quality was good as well as the attractive artwork.
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Some of the tracks have not come up all that well (Background noise and distortion on some)

Nevertheless it is good value and very listenable. Peterson's playing on all tracks is as brilliant as one has come to expect.
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on 11 August 2015
mixed review, I really like the music but the remastering is below par, I would'nt recommend it as the poor quality defintely takes away from enjoying the music, too bad, the great Peterson deserves better
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on 19 January 2013
They are virtually giving this three disc box set away. Who cares if you will get some tracks that you have already. Hours of pleasure for less that the cost of a bottle of wine!!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2009
The material is OK but a bit "hotel lounge".
My complaint is the recording - many pieces have some mike distortion present. This shows up as a high pitched buzz attached to the piano part. Possibly due to the early date on the recording, but I have lots of stuff from the same period without this. It's not my speakers - I've tested on several sets.

EDIT UPDATE :

Above comment refers to the first half of CD1 - the 1952 recording.

Other sets don't seem to have the problem AND the music quality is more small group jazz than hotel lounge.
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on 17 March 2013
I was a bit disappointed with the quality of sound generally, but the 3 disc CD is good value for money and the tracks selected are a true delight for Oscar Peterson fans.
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