Exclusively for My Friends: Action, Vol. I (Live)

Exclusively for My Friends: Action, Vol. I (Live)

Oscar Peterson was famous for his prodigious technique, which worked in a variety of solo and small group settings. Here with his working trio of bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, Peterson starts an illustrious run of live recordings done in the state-of-the-art home studio of MPS Records' Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer. There were small invited audiences to encourage the band along. This set from 1963 (but not released until 1968, because Peterson was under contract to Verve) starts with an effervescent take of the standard “At Long Last Love.” Billy Taylor’s bluesy “Easy Walker” and later “I’ve Got a Crush on You” follow at an easy pace with the rhythm section getting room to shine on their own. Peterson’s singular rhythmic power comes to the fore on “Tin Tin Deo,” and his soloing is never better than on “Like Someone in Love,” particularly the intro. Peterson himself felt that this series was his best work, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. It's now available digitally for the first time, with a fresh mastering job.

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