Oscar Peterson is heard with several different small groups on this compilation of early-'50s recordings. Two relatively short-lived trios are represented, with four tracks featuring bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Barney Kessel, the most lyrical yet subdued selections of this album. Kessel takes a prominent role in the loping "Pompton Turnpike," while the influence of the Nat King Cole Trio on Peterson is a bit obvious in "Cherokee." The blues-drenched take of "Willow Weep for Me" features Irving Ashby (who briefly served in the trio prior to Kessel's arrival) on guitar. On the flip side, Herb Ellis is the guitarist and drummer Louis Bellson is added, with the now expanded quartet sounding a bit more extroverted in its workouts (particularly in "Singin' in the Rain"), as the addition of Ellis seems to stimulate Peterson to greater heights. The music in this anthology has been reissued sporadically, but most of it has not been available at all for decades, so this LP is well worth uncovering.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden