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Oscar Peterson: Trail of Dreams (SACD)

Well, here we go again, this time our special seating puts us in the middle of a violin section-strings pouring out of speakers left and right to the rear and front-so my guess is we are about two rows into the strings conducted by Michel Legrand to augment Oscar Peterson and group. Peterson’s Trail of Dreams paints an overly lush musical portrait of Canada and we are not talking lush as in too much Molson, my friend. Damnit, I love Oscar Peterson and bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, but this commissioned work is just a bit over the edge. With the over-enveloping string section, the effect is like spending an hour with ears in the middle of a wad of cotton candy. Well, maybe it isn’t quite that sappy, but the mix could have focused all the musicians more up front, positioning the jazzers forward of the strings, as they should be, instead of lost in the middle somewhere. With a slightly different mix this forgettable work would have been far more digestible.

Originally Published