Oscar Peterson gained a strong reputation in his native Canada by the mid-'40s, and he recorded regularly with his trio during 1945-1949. However, it was when he was presented as a surprise guest at the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert of September 18, 1949, by producer Norman Granz that he became famous in the jazz world. This very valuable CD has the three selections from that appearance ("Fine and Dandy," "I Only Have Eyes for You," and "Carnegie Blues") plus Peterson's Carnegie Hall features of 1950, 1952, and 1953 with JATP. One can only imagine what the pianist's fellow musicians must have thought when they heard him effortlessly ripping through "Fine and Dandy." The 1949 and 1950 appearances are duets with bassist Ray Brown, while guitarist Barney Kessel is on the five selections from 1952 and Herb Ellis is on the final five numbers. Peterson's style is a bit more boppish than it would become, but he is certainly quite recognizable. This is classic and historic music from one of the true all-time jazz greats.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow