Oscar Peterson: On a Clear Day – The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Zurich, 1971 (Mack Avenue, 2022)

November 14, 2022 at 9:21 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Oscar Peterson: On a Clear Day – The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Zurich, 1971

Following up on the release of a 1987 live date in Helsinki last year, Mack Avenue has unearthed another vintage Oscar Peterson set, this time recorded in Zurich over 50 years ago. Heavy on standards, this is a highly energetic set with Peterson joined by bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Louis Hayes. Launching with a ripping drum solo, the first song (“The Lamp Is Low”) is speedy, revved-up post-bop, and “Younger Than Springtime” is less frantic but still busy and alive. From there, things straighten out and calm down a little, but not entirely. “On a Clear Day” sounds more like “Mack the Knife” than “Mack the Knife”, which has some off-the-wall piano soloing before the recognizable tune kicks in. And even when it does, Peterson just runs across the field with it. “On the Trail” similarly does a light-speed dash during its final minutes, yet it sounds perfectly controlled rather than free-form anarchy. The sound quality is a little rough, and there’s weird voices constantly audible underneath the playing (possibly the musicians themselves), but it definitely preserves the intimacy and spontaneity of the gig.

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