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Oscar Peterson: A Summer Night In Munich

The artist in autumn: This eminently agreeable session captures the old master in performance at the Munich Philharmonic. Illness, which he has thankfully triumphed over, has seemingly slowed his ardor and lent an understandable melancholy to his artistry, but Oscar Peterson is an indomitable spirit that refuses to knuckle under to the ravages of time. At this point he is no longer the restless globetrotter; rather he’s the grand master who carefully picks and chooses-at one of jazz music’s largest fee demands-his spots. Still at the helm of a virtuosic trio that is rounded out by Danish bass giant Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson and British drummer Martin Drew, for this occasion they engaged the considerable talents of Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius.

The program is largely composed of Peterson originals, including the gorgeous lattice-work of the wistful and lyrical “When Summer Comes,” which elicits a most delicate bass solo from Pederson. The comely melody “Nigerian Marketplace” suggests the optimism of the place more than its bustling activity, and Ellington is feted with a sumptuous “Satin Doll.” Nothing particularly special, but then for some it’s always special when Peterson sits down at the keyboard.

Originally Published