THE GERSHWIN SONGBOOKS is a reissue of two LP's, OSCAR PETERSON PLAYS THE GEORGE GERSHWIN SONG BOOK and OSCAR PETERSON PLAYS GEORGE GERSHWIN, on one disc.
OSCAR PETERSON PLAYS THE GEORGE GERSHWIN SONG BOOK personnel: Oscar Peterson (piano); Ray Brown (bass); Ed Thigpen (drums).
Recorded at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago, Illinois between July 21 and August 1, 1959. Originally released on Verve (V6-2054).
OSCAR PETERSON PLAYS GEORGE GERSHWIN personnel: Oscar Peterson (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Ray Brown (bass).
Recorded in Los Angeles, California in late 1952. Originally released on Clef (MGC 605).
Reissue producer: Michael Lang.
Includes liner notes by Henry Martin and original release liner notes by Lawrence D. Stewart and Norman Granz.
Tracks 1-12 are stereo. Tracks 13-24 are monaural.
In what was a giant undertaking (even for producer Norman Granz), pianist Oscar Peterson recorded ten Songbook albums during 1952-1954 and when his trio changed, nine more in 1959. Both of his George Gershwin projects (one from 1952 and the other from 1959) have been reissued in full on this single CD. The earlier date matches the brilliant Peterson with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Brown, while the 1959 session has Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. The Songbook series found Peterson playing concise (around three-minute) versions of tunes, and he always kept the melody in the forefront. The results are not innovative or unique, but they are tasteful and reasonably enjoyable. Since five of the songs are played by both groups, a comparison between the two units is interesting. ~ Scott Yanow