Oscar and Benny

Oscar Peterson

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Oscar and Benny Review

by Richard S. Ginell

As prolific as he was before his stroke in 1993, Oscar Peterson joins forces and fingers with his officially designated protégé Benny Green -- and you can hardly tell them apart most of the time. Telarc is of no help in this matter by failing to give listeners an idea of who-plays-where in the liner notes, nor is the stereo mix any aid to sorting out the pianists. Needless to say, it is the Oscar Peterson style and conception that dominates this collection of workouts on standards; both pianists have fantastically flexible touches firmly grounded in the blues (Peterson is perhaps lighter, fleeter, and more luxuriously polished), and they find ornate ways of gently curling a phrase. The token bossa nova is a soft Brazilian treatment of "Here's That Rainy Day" à la Wes Montgomery. Ageless bass partner Ray Brown and regular Peterson drummer Gregory Hutchinson drive everything expertly; there is one Peterson original, the hangdog "Barbara's Blues" (named after the woman who looks after the pianos at Telarc sessions) where the rhythm section drops out.

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