Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One



by Zappa USER (12 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 8 replies

Release Date: | Tracklist

At the height of jazz’s popularity, it was pretty common to see some of the greatest players working with several other big names. In fact, when you list off the “greats", it’s easy to link almost all of them to one another, because it was pretty much expected for musicians to record frequently and with many different bandmates. These were guys who liked to throw around their ideas with people who had unique ideas of their own, and constantly wanted to explore new playing environments. On the other hand, there were also groups that seemed to be very much a single unit. These were musicians that would rather fully delve into the interaction they could have with a few other guys, rather than gaining experience working all over the place. Some examples of these groups are Keith Jarrett’s trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, the Coltrane 60s band, and a few of Miles’ groups. The tightly-knit group we’re talking about today is the Oscar Peterson Trio that featured bassist Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen on drums.

On Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One, it’s almost like a meeting of two minds, in a way. Oscar and his longest-running trio were very much in touch with one another by the time this was recorded in 1964. Because these three musicians were working so closely with one another, this grouping with the famous Clark Terry was something of a duo, rather than a quartet. No matter how you look at it, though, we can all agree that it’s very nice to see the Oscar Peterson Trio working still with one another, but also trying out a new collaboration.

As far as potential “plus ones" go, there may have been no one better than Clark Terry for assuming the position of fourth wheel on this recording. The 44 year-old flugelhornist slips into the group as if he were born to play with them. His incredibly happy, swinging style is really what makes this a joyous, celebratory recording. Terry also has complete command of his instrument, which if you are not aware, is a brass instrument that is composed of the same length of tubing as a trumpet, but is bent differently. The instrument is in Bb like a trumpet, and has all the same fingerings, but possesses a mellower sound. As far as flugelhornists go, Terry is certainly at the top of the heap, which is why he has worked with the likes of Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, and Ella Fitzgerald. In addition to his fl’gelhorn playing, Terry adds a humorous spin to the album on two selections, with his “mumbling" vocals.

The music on Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One is full of life and excitement. This straight-ahead set of standards and Peterson and Terry originals is simply a joy to listen to. The songs rhythmic foundation is straightforward and rock-solid, characterized by Ray Brown’s thumping, creative walking lines, and Ed Thigpen’s swinging bop drumming. In the forefront are Clark Terry’s bouncy, exuberant flugelhorn, and Oscar Peterson’s jangling flurries of piano colors.

The fastest tunes on the album clearly illustrate the masterful playing of the soloists. On the boppin’ opener, “Brotherhood of Man," for example, Clark Terry and Oscar Peterson’s lines are intricate and swinging. Terry scales the heights of his instrument’s range as if it’s nothing, and falls to the depths just as quick. In several of the tunes on this album, including “Squeaky’s Blues", Terry effortlessly includes a number of technical devices that serve to drop any trumpet player’s jaw to the ground upon hearing him. Oscar is as impressive, with his soulful, crammed phrases and flawless sense of tension and release. Clearly, these improvisers know precisely how to create exciting, delightful bebop.

The tunes are mostly up-beat boppers, but there are also some ballads. The first ballad, “Jim", features a fantastic piano introduction, and then Terry comes in to take a solo. This tune clearly illustrates how exciting and playful a ballad could be in the hands of this band. The other ballads “Roundalay," “They Didn’t Believe Me," and “I Want a Little Girl" are similarly bright, despite their slow, melancholic themes.

As mentioned earlier, there are two vocal tracks. “Mumbles" and “Incoherent Blues" were both written by Clark Terry, and both feature his humorous approach to singing. Basically, it sounds like he is simply babbling. His rhythmic ideas and pacing are very strong, despite the somewhat silly approach. When Terry puts down his horn, Oscar plays some real soulful piano lines to accompany the silly vocal lines.

This recording documents one of the most powerful groupings in 60s jazz. The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen had been creating fantastic piano trio music for years when they created another true classic with the help of Clark Terry. This is the sort of album you can put on any time and just bop along with it. It is fun, intelligent, technically impressive, and silly, all at once. A welcome addition to any jazz collection.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
January 9th 2005


I've actually heard some of Oscar Peterson's solo work, and he's fantastic. His speed is incredible. Great review, I'll check this out.

Broken Arrow
January 9th 2005


[QUOTE=Woodstock]I've actually heard some of Oscar Peterson's solo work, and he's fantastic. His speed is incredible. Great review, I'll check this out.[/QUOTE]
Hehe, thanks to me you've listened to him.

Oscar is great we watched a movie on him in music class and he's very influencial......too bad I don't play piano. But he makes me want to learn.

Nice Review

January 9th 2005


So this Clark Terry invented a new instrument, insane!

January 9th 2005


[QUOTE=Well_Respected_Man]So this Clark Terry invented a new instrument, insane![/QUOTE]

No, he didn't. The flgelhorn had been around a while by the time he picked it up, but he's one of the greats on the instrument.

January 9th 2005


I think I saw an Oscar Peterson record in me dad's collection, I'll checkit out. Great review as always.

Tangy zizzle
January 10th 2005


Shot, Zaphoid.

I loves me some Peterson.

January 10th 2005


I love Peterson, so I'll definitely check out this CD.

When I saw him in concert I could've died right then a happy man.

January 10th 2005


[QUOTE=forthepeopleofthesun]I love Peterson, so I'll definitely check out this CD.

When I saw him in concert I could've died right then a happy man.[/QUOTE]


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