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Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook: Originals

1 rating: 5.0
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The melodies of Kern get the sublimely swinging treatment of Oscar and his trio on this 1953 LP. First time on CD in the U.S.!

1 review about Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook: Originals

Beautiful interpretations of Kern's masterpieces

  • Jun 23, 2013
  • by
Although this product page does not have sound samples (at the time of this review) you can listen to them on the MP3 version of this album at Plays The Jerome Kern Song Book. You will not only have an opportunity to sample each track, but also to get an idea of the remastering since that album is identical to this CD.

I love the way Peterson interpreted these songs and how rich each track sounds with just a piano backed by a bassist and drummer. While Peterson is unmistakably the driving force behind this album, he is aided by two excellent musicians who also contribute in significant ways. Ray Brown is much more than a bassist laying down walking bass runs. He exhibits a keen sense of the melody line and incorporates that, which makes each track far richer. Ed Thigpen on drums also adds magic. Thigpen was a pianist as well as a drummer, so he understood the music on more than a rhythmic level. His own approach to drums was melodic and particularly tasteful on this album.

Of course there is Kern and his own genius that is embodied in this album. These songs are among the cream of the Great American Songbook, and have been covered by nearly everyone known and unknown. I am continually forgetting just how much Kern contributed to the body of American music, so this album is a reminder to me that he authored some of my favorite songs.

One final note. At the time of this review the editorial review on the CD version's product page claims that this is the 1953 version that featured Peterson and Brown with Barney Kessel on guitar. Not true. The tracks on this album were recorded at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago during a marathon set of recording sessions that took place between July 14 and August 9, 1959. Those sessions resulted in ten albums, nine of which were tribute albums covering various songbooks. It would have been nice to have the 1953 album included too, but I am pleased with this one and already have the earlier one to enjoy and contrast with this. For the music, musicianship and sound quality this album easily rates five stars in my opinion.

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