Oscar Peterson

Romance: The Vocal Styling of Oscar Peterson

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Over a decade prior to Oscar Peterson's 1965 vocal tribute to Nat King Cole, the pianist recorded a series of vocal numbers (over three sessions between 1952 and 1954) for Verve, accompanied by his regular trio (bassist Ray Brown and either Barney Kessel or Herb Ellis on guitar). Peterson's interpretations of the dozen standards, all ballads, are generally slow. His vocals are warm and friendly, though they lack the variety of an established singer. His emphasis is more on his singing than his piano, which is rather conservative when compared to his instrumental recordings. His swinging treatment of "I Hear Music" is a bit brisker than most of the other tracks, with both the leader and Kessel taking solos. This obscure LP is lesser known than With Respect to Nat but Peterson fans are advised to look for it, as they will enjoy him in a more relaxed setting. The album was reissued in Europe during the 1980s but it will be fairly difficult to find.

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