Oscar Peterson developed a friendship with Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, who proceeded to record the pianist in his first-rate studio beginning in the early '60s, even though Peterson was under an exclusive contract to Verve at the time. The solution to this problem was to wait until after it expired, and then a number of these sessions were released on various BASF or MPS LPs (and later on Pausa LP reissues). Action represents some of Peterson's earliest work for Brunner-Schwer; these sessions were recorded before an invited audience in the studio, with the pianist's working trio of Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. The group seems extremely relaxed and inspired by the small group of loyal fans, with a brisk waltz treatment of "At Long Last Love" and an extended workout of fellow pianist Billy Taylor's ballad "Easy Walker" starting things off with a flourish. Their approach to "Tin Tin Deo" is remarkably subtle, while Peterson is at his most lyrical during a pair of Gershwin selections, "I've Got a Crush on You" and "A Foggy Day." The influence of Art Tatum is apparent with Peterson's darting runs in "Like Someone in Love."
Action (Exclusively for My Friends, Vol. 1) Review
by Ken Dryden