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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Oscar Peterson Trio at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival

Verve Records V-8024 (USA) released in 1961; original issue: 1957

The Oscar Peterson Trio, heard here in a live concert in 1957 from the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, had existed since the early 1950's. with guitarist Herb Ellis stepping in to replace original guitarist Barney Kessel in 1953. The great Ray Brown, bassist extraordinaire, has been present almost from the beginning. The empathy between these three musicians verges on the telepathic, and Oscar has recounted that Ray and Herb would often get together after hours just to play time together, without the pianist!
In any case, this is one of those special albums where everything's perfect, the venue, the audience, and of course the Trio. Selections include "Falling In Love With Love", "How About You", "Flamingo", "Swinging On A Star", "Gypsy In My Soul", "How High The Moon" (with a superlative bass solo from Ray Brown; a written transcript of his solo is included), Ellington's "Love You Madly", and the bebop anthem "52nd Street Theme", taken at a breakneck pace.

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