Various Artists

Oscar, With Love
(Mack Avenue)

Anyone who’s read this column in the past might know that I’m an enthusiastic fan of solo piano albums. There’s something about that instrument—played alone—that allows you to hear the heart and soul of the artist. So, when you record world-class pianists playing the music of DownBeat Hall of Famer Oscar Peterson (1925–2007) on the master’s personal Bosendörfer Imperial grand in his home studio—yep, that’s something I’m going to geek out about! This is a beautiful set of music that came to life as a pet project of Peterson’s widow, Kelly, in honor of what would have been the late pianist’s 90th birthday. Originally released in 2015 in very limited numbers, the set has been re-released by Mack Avenue on a significantly larger scale. In putting the music together for this collection, Kelly Peterson focused on Oscar Peterson, the composer. There are dozens of great performances on this set, with several of Peterson’s compositions making their recorded debut. Makoto Ozone serves up two scoops of gorgeous on “The Contessa.” Fellow Canadians Oliver Jones and Dave Young deliver a beautiful “Céline’s Waltz.” Gerald Clayton’s take on “Bossa Beguine” is all style, swagger and beauty. Benny Green demonstrates his ability to sink deep into the blues on “Cool Walk.” And that’s just four examples from the 36 tracks. Seven of the selections are compositions written for Peterson by other artists, including Chick Corea’s “One For Oscar,” which he penned specifically for this occasion. There will be a variety of versions of Oscar, With Love available. The standard three-CD release comes with a 24-page booklet. A deluxe package includes the three CDs and a 100-plus-page book. And in 2018, Mack Avenue will release a five-LP set on vinyl. With its pristine audio production and exquisite packaging, Oscar, With Love is an essential acquisition for Peterson fans and anyone with even a passing interest in solo jazz piano. If you want deeper insight into this project, you can check out a video of Kelly Peterson talking about it by clicking here.

On Sale Now
September 2023
Kris Davis
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