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A Tribute To Oscar Peterson

Andrew Litton

BIS Records 2014

Review by David Bowling

 

Andrew Litton is known worldwide as a conductor. Her served as the conductor of the Dallas Symphony, (1994-2006), and will soon conclude a run as the principal conductor of the Bergin Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. In 2015 he will assume the position of Music Director of the Colorado Symphony. He has been involved in over 100 recordings but none so unique as A Tribute To Oscar Peterson.

He grew up in a classical family but had an epiphany when he was given an Oscar Peterson record as a birthday present. He became a lifelong fan of his music and met Peterson on several occasions.

While he may be a conductor of note, he is also an expert pianist. He has now released a labor of love. He has released improvisations of some of Peterson’s classic performances, which span four decades of his career.

Litton has wisely kept it simple as he has eschewed any instrumental accompaniment. It is just him and his piano channeling the spirit of Oscar Peterson.

The music is well played and produced. Songs such as “Little Girl Blue,” “How Long has This Been Coming On,” “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be,” and “Lulu’s Back In Town” are resurrected as modern day pieces while paying tribute to the past. The only flaw of course is that Peterson’s originals are still available. Still, if you are a fan, this release will provide some listening enjoyment. After all, it is a label of love.

Rating: ***

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