Hardbopjazz

Does Oscar Peterson get a bad rap?

233 posts in this topic

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10 hours ago, JSngry said:

I'll see your Les Baxter 101 Strings and call it with the Nelson Riddle Same.

 

I think this is correct. Sinatra had only "the best" arrangers and Riddle belongs to those.

Les Baxter belongs in the same cathegorie but who is "better" is pure personal preference.

But probably we should discuss this in another thread.

Thanks

 

 

 

Edited by jazzcorner
typo

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I don´t know what was the reason he was so "omnipresent" in record collections in "middleclass/upper middleclass" households in my hometown. 

But that´s how I heard "jazz piano" for the first time when still a kid. It took me one more year to know who Miles Davis, who Charles Mingus are. 

But as I said, Peterson was so omnipresent in some musical houses I thought he might be "the most famous pianist of all times" and when I got my first "Jazz Book" (Joachim Ernst Behrendt) I had expected there might be a "whole chapter about Oscar Peterson" but was astonished that he´s hardly mentioned. But it was the same Thing in other jazz books too "Arrigo Pollilo "Jazz" …….the same Thing. 

It seems that book writers, critics didn´t really like him. 

May I have been influenced by those book authors or not, later I got tired of listenig to Oscar Peterson, at least most of the time. I found it more exiting to listen to the "sidemen" pianists on other Albums I had and I had few. I had "Steamin´ from Miles" and learned all the "Red Garland solos" on it. I had "Great Concert of Mingus" and learned all the stuff Jackie Byard Plays, and I had "Miles in Europe" and learned all the stuff Herbie Hancock plays on it. 

So ironically I became a "sideman piano" listener more than a listener of lead pianos. 

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On 10.12.2019 at 4:39 PM, JSngry said:

Peterson's playing definitely provokes STRONG reactions, both pro and con. No doubt about that.

That seems obvious in this forum  (but also not only here) and is valid for many even successful artists in general  and is also a truism. The economic success even in Oscar's lifetime shows that the majority of postings here with that negative touch are a small exemption and (I repeat myself) personal preferences from "nonpianists".

Thats ok with me. I dont like many artists on many fields. Thats simply human and has no affect for the artists themselves. They know what they do wether you like it or not. This is valid also for every kind of art.  I have bought Down Beat 5 stars rated albums and didnt like them at all and I like very much  albums with a zero rating from Down Beat. So what?  We dont like all the same meal and every critic rates acc. his personal Impression.

Btw "de mortuis nihil nisi bene".

Thanks

 

 

Edited by jazzcorner
text change

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14 minutes ago, jazzcorner said:

Btw "de mortuis nihil nisi bene".

qEj4x.jpg

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just saw this the other day....

lets analyze/criticize  this to death :)

 

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I like Oscar Peterson now more than ever.  Few artists of any sort are as consistent as he was.  I guess some would view "consistent" as doing too much of the same thing and not producing a handful of masterpieces.  But I don't always need a masterpiece or an innovative record. 

I've just put together a playlist of Oscar playing Gershwin--all kinds of 1950s work primarily, but also some tracks from the fine Zoot Sims record of Gershwin (on Pablo).  Sorry, but this is complete listening pleasure.

 

  

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I have to agree with you. This one always makes me smile.

Image result for zoot sims plays gershwin

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Thanks for this, I would not have had Bobby Timmons on my bingo card for "pianists Monk apparently really dug".

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On 12/10/2019 at 9:42 PM, danasgoodstuff said:

Iverson is only superficially nicer to Oscar than Miles was and he takes far longer to say it. 

Disagree... I feel like Iverson highlights specific elements of Peterson’s style that irritate Peterson’s detractors.  (Though some of it may just be ex-post rationalization)

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Most of know Monk could be sweet, harsh, caustic, mysterious, and funny--sometimes all at once.  

 

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BTW and FWIW, the motive behind my survey of all the OP albums I have was that in the case of a musician l who obviously is talented but whom I usually don't care for, I sometimes like to see if I can detect significant instances of vitality/quality/you name it and then figure out why performance X comes to life IMO while performances Y and Z do not. It's kind of educational in ways that can apply to all  sorts of players and, as happened this time through the OP albums, I can find some nice music that I didn't even know was there.

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On 12/27/2019 at 0:50 PM, Teasing the Korean said:

The only two I routinely revisit are his woefully mistitled Soul Espagnole on Limelight, a strange mashup of Brazilian tunes with Afro-Cuban percussion; and Motions and Emotions on MPS, which I adore not for the piano, but rather for that decadent Euro 1970s fondue sound, courtesy of Claus Ogerman.  ...

"Decadent Euro 1970s Fondue Sound"!  Yeah.  Now that is a felicitous expression.

I'm not even exactly sure what that is.  But I like it.  ;)

 

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3 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

"Decadent Euro 1970s Fondue Sound"!  Yeah.  Now that is a felicitous expression.

I'm not even exactly sure what that is.  But I like it.  ;)

Well, check out the album, and you'll hear what I mean.  Many of the more pop/jazz-oriented MPS albums from this period have that sound!

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Listening to a lot of mid-50s Stan Getz and imho Getz sounds way better with Lou Levy than w/Peterson. Peterson sounds clunky behind Getz.

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5 hours ago, Guy Berger said:

Listening to a lot of mid-50s Stan Getz and imho Getz sounds way better with Lou Levy than w/Peterson. Peterson sounds clunky behind Getz.

Though I don´t have many listening experiences of Stan Getz from the mid 50´s, I can imagine that Lou Levy must have been ideal for him. He was really a great, underrated pianist. He played with Getz in 1981 at Velden Jazzfestival in Austria, and then with Art Pepper, since Pepper´s own trio seemed to have missed the plane. So it was Pepper with Getz´s trio. 

Your impression of Peterson added to a horn player is easy to understand for me, since I have an Eddie Lockjaw Davis album with the OP trio from 1977, and always thought how fine it would have been with Tommy Flanagan, with whom he made a studio album around the same time...

I know there is recordings of Zoot Sims with OP, but I didn´t hear them. Zoot was from the Lester Young school, and the finest combination I heard is on a date at the Parisian Blue Note Café, where he is accompanied by the Bud Powell Trio, and Bud really adapts his playing very well to Zoot´s style. He plays a bit softer than usual, a very very beautiful and relaxed set. 

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Pianist Bennie Green just posted this on FB, together with a photo of himself accompanying Benny Carter with his trio:

”With the great bassist and human Ed Howard, accompanying a bonafide first-generation grandmaster -- the saxophonist/trumpeter/vocalist/composer-arranger Benny Carter. 

Our drummer and friend George Fludas is unfortunately out-of-view in this photo. To my unspeakably great fortune, Jordi Sunol, who's long invested in the vital importance of connecting generations in Jazz, arranged a couple of festival sets with my trio accompanying Mr. Carter, that were scheduled amidst our individual tours. I believe this photo is from 1995.

This kind of meeting of younger and older musicians with clear showings of respect and reverence from us to our elders, was exponentially more prevalent back when more first and second-generation masters were still with us, and my contemporaries and I sought their acceptance and hopefully, their approval to play with them. Many of us genuinely wanted to be able to play in the styles that our elders needed, and conversely, our priorities were focussed on learning a great language; we weren't in a rush to dismiss what was already established in a mad dash to distinguish ourselves as young figureheads.

After the gig, I asked Mr. Carter, "Seeing as you've played with everyone in the music, I'm very curious to ask whether you have a favorite accompanist?". Mr. Carter actually reflected on my question for a few seconds, then finally he replied, "I guess I'd have to say Oscar -- because he plays all that piano, but he never gets in your way!"”.

Edited by EKE BBB

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I found it both highly interesting and a surprise that A jazz master -Benny Carter - consideredOscar Peterson to be his favorite accompanist. It certainly contradicts what so many on this board have said about Oscar as an accompanist,

One more example of - different strokes ...

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OP drives me nuts, as I have said many times before. His playing actually offends me; it's almost all patterns, and he drives the blue thing into the ground (online there's a version he plays of Waltz for Debbie in which he ruins this delicate melody with a string of idiotic blues phrases). And btw Barry Harris, as he told me years ago, disliked his playing. But the main reason I know what a horrible pianist OP was is that, before I had dual carpal tunnel, I could do a passable imitation of OP playing a blues. Just repeat the same basic blue runs ad-nauseum in slightly different positions. But as a jazz critic (I think Francis Davis) once said:

"It's not that Peterson makes everything sound so easy, but that he makes everything sound equally difficult."

Edited by AllenLowe

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If you like a particular musician listen to him/her, if not then don't waste your time. Life is too short. I generally like Peterson, though I wouldn't call him my favorite jazz pianist. FWIW, people like Hank Jones and Andre Previn have called him the best. 

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"He never gets in your way." Compared to, say, Jimmy Rowles?

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