Album:Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle
One of the notable things about legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was his versatility when he led the house band at Verve Records in the 50s. Verve owner Norman Granz had so much confidence in Peterson that he thought Peterson could do anything. This album with Peterson's trio and Nelson Riddle's orchestra might seem odd but Peterson and Riddle make it work. Riddle was best known for arranging Frank Sinatra's 50s recordings at Capitol Records. But he left Capitol and came to Verve to record a couple of albums with Ella Fitzgerald. Meanwhile Peterson was busy as usual. When he wasn't touring with his trio of Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums, Peterson recorded the classic album Night Train and he also recorded an album with singer Bill Henderson. By late 1963, Riddle had joined Sinatra's Reprise label as a house arranger. Granz asked Riddle if he was interested in recording an album with Peterson. Riddle jumped at the chance. Peterson was more skeptical because of Riddle's rep as a pop arranger. But I think they strike a very good balance. Riddle leaves enough room in the arrangements for Peterson to solo. And it will also appeal to those looking for music to listen to after a tough day. Instead of using a full string section, Riddle only uses cellos. And the horns give the album a big band feel. The album is a mix of jazz and pop standards. I don't think Peterson had recorded Round Midnight before this though he performed it live. For some reason, Verve released an edited version of this album on CD in 1984 as The Silver Collection. In 2009, they corrected this and released Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle on CD. The Silver Collection is out of print. This album is recommended to Peterson fans and to those who like smooth jazz. Here's a video of Round Midnight by Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle.