Walking The Line – without Johnny – but with Oscar Peterson!

Happy New Year!

Let me start by wishing all of my readers an excellent and successful 2018!

Oscar Peterson has been one of my earliest Jazz influences, actually, he was on the first Jazz CD I ever bought around the age of 18 (The Oscar Peterson Trio Plays, from 1964, note that the first jazz album I ever bought was on vinyl just some weeks earlier, Keith Jarrett´s My Song). Before that, I thought that Jazz was annoying and chaotic, how wrong I was!

So you can see, my love of the piano trio format dates back many years.

I’ve written about Oscar Peterson three times previously, about two albums from his legendary trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen (Night Train and Plays The Cole Porter Songbook), but have also already mentioned his later work in Germany (Exclusively For My Friends) in my 25 Essential Jazz albums with several different bassist and drummers.

Walking The Line (MPS 1970)

The Oscar Peterson Trio Walking The Line Anniversary Edition Remastered 24 88 MPS 1970

Walking The Line is another album from the collaboration with MPS and the German producer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.

With Peterson, we have George Mraz on bass and Ray Price on drums here. The change in personnel really doesn’t impact this album in any way, this is pure Peterson Swing!

Like with many Peterson albums, we do get some standards. The most famous songs here are Teach Me Tonight and All Of You, but the albums starting song from Cole Porter,  Love, you’ll probably also have heard before.

What you may not have heard as much (unless you are from France or you are big fan of the original Thomas Crown Affair) is Michel Legrand´s song The Windmills Of Your Mind.

Michel Legrand is one of the greatest song composers I’m aware of, all the way up there with the giants like Cole Porter. I’ve previously mentioned him in my review of Bill Evans You Must Believe In Spring. I’m very glad he gets featured here as well.

Overall, this is not a must have album, but if you like Peterson, you really won’t regret the purchase. To quote another famous song title, it don’t mean a thing if it ain´t got that swing. Well this album clearly does!

My rating: 4 stars

You’ll find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prostudiomasters)


Montreux Alexander Live!

Monty Alexander

For whatever reason, although I really like piano trios as every regular reader of my blog will have understood by now, Monty Alexander flew under the radar screen for me until rather recently

Luckily, some other music lovers pointed me to him, and the trigger for purchasing this particular album was fellow Jazz addict JoeWhip’s entry to Audiostream’s Lovely Recordings, a new feature on the site:  (The rest of his list is also very much worth exploring, I had a bit more than half of it already and purchased most of the rest after reading the list).

Montreux Alexander Live! (MPS 1985/2014)

Montreux Alexander - The Monty Alexander Trio Live! At The Montreux Festival MPS

What a nice recommendation!

Live albums often are either really good or really dull. The dull ones often just try to hard, or don’t really capture the spirit and feeling of the concert and leave you uninvolved. The good ones are just the opposite.

Luckily, the latter applies here, you feel like you’re actually sitting in the concert and the groove get’s you immediately.

Jeff Hamilton is a great asset obviously, his ability to make any kind of music swing is just outstanding (he also plays, in a very similar style on Ray Brown Live At the Loa, one of my 25 Essential Jazz albums).

John Clayton is not that well known, but he is a Ray Brown pupil and you can hear it.

I can only agree with JoeWhip on his assessment that this is music that will make you smile no matter how down you are.


My rating: 4 stars

You can find it here (Qobuz)