Usually when clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and pianist Oscar Peterson teamed up on records in the '50s, the results were up-tempo fireworks as they challenged each other. However, their collaboration on The George Gershwin Songbook is quite a bit different, for they are weighed down by the Russ Garcia and His Orchestra. The strings, woodwinds and trombones sometimes make the music sound overly dramatic and in most places just turns the jazz into easy listening music. Even when the tempo is fast, as on "Strike Up the Band," the solos are cut short and the results seem truncated. Overall the music is pleasing and well played, but falls short of being classic or as exciting as one would hope.
The George Gershwin Songbook Review
by Scott Yanow