Quartet, Vol. 1

Oscar Peterson

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Quartet, Vol. 1 Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Putting swing violinist Stephane Grappelli together with bop pianist Oscar Peterson may seem like an odd pairing at first glance...but there's something in both men's approaches that brings everything together. Start with a handful of good songs, strong support from bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and drummer Kenny Clarke, and lots of room for lively solos and one has the ingredients for a nice album. The band slides easily between upbeat numbers like "Them There Eyes" to quieter ones like "Flamingo." There's a fun version of the oldest of war-horses, "Makin' Woopee," given a lovely workout by Grappelli, while "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" is given a nifty kick off by Peterson and Pederson. The soft, floating "My One and Only Love" develops quietly for ten minutes, while the pristine "Flamingo" has the feel of a late-night ballad, gently echoing in an almost empty bar. The rhythm section gives the group the proper boost for the closer "Thou Swell," swinging hard and keeping the soaring soloists at least partially grounded. Both Peterson and Grappelli approach their music with a great deal of feeling, and perhaps it is this "romantic sensibility," as the liner notes refer to it, that makes this match so successful.

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