Oscar Peterson was one of the most prolific recording artists for several labels founded by Norman Granz, yet many of his early dates for Verve (and its predecessors Clef and Norgran) have been unjustly out of print for decades. This very hard-to-find LP contains duo sessions by the pianist with Ray Brown, primarily from an extended studio date in August 1950. What is particularly surprising is that three of the nine songs from this session are originals, including the entertaining piece mimicking the choppy style of a fellow pianist, "Salute to Garner," an easygoing swinger called "What is It?" and the somewhat angular "Minor Blues." A fourth original, "Slow Down," is a slow blues recorded during the making of a quartet session in 1952, though Barney Kessel and Alvin Stoller sat out this selection. Half of the album is dedicated to standards, though "Dark Eyes" has long since faded from typical jazz repertoire. But the duo's interpretations of "What's New," "How High the Moon," and "The Nearness of You" have stood the test of time very well over the five-plus decades since they were initially recorded. This rare record is likely to be found exclusively on auction lists.
An Evening with Oscar Peterson Review
by Ken Dryden