Personnel: Oscar Peterson (clavichord); Joe Pass (acoustic guitar).
Recorded at RCA Studios, Los Angeles, California on January 26, 1976. Includes original release liner notes by Benny Green.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1994, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Joe Pass (guitar, acoustic guitar); Oscar Peterson (piano, clavichord).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Liner Note Author: Benny Green .
Recording information: RCA Studios, Los Angeles, CA (01/26/1976).
Photographer: Phil Stern.
Few works in the Amreican canon have consistently inspired players and listeners like PORGY AND BESS. And while aspects of the libretto--with its condescending, paternalistic overtones--are a sorry reminder of a less enlightened time in American history, the depth of affection and craft in Gershwin's Twentieth Century opera is timeless, genderless and colorless.
The orchestral collaborations of Miles Davis and Gil Evans breathed new life into this work, and their PORGY AND BESS remains among the most beloved works in jazz history. But with the CD release of this 1976 Norman Granz production, Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass offer us a definitive new instrumental rendition of PORGY AND BESS--as intimate and swinging a work as anything they ever recorded.
Peterson and Pass employ clavichord and arch top acoustic guitar to striking effect on PORGY AND BESS. The clavichord is a tiny baroque keyboard which allows keyboardists to manipulate the pitch after notes are struck by employing hand vibrato. It was Bach's favorite instrument, and on a whimsical version of "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin" and a funky down home reading of "Strawberry Woman," Peterson transcends traditional keyboard techniques, embracing its tiny, twangy timbre to produce guitar-like strums, trills and bends, as Pass alternates between moving bass lines, rhythmic strumming and arpeggiated chording. On "Oh, Bess, Oh Where's My Bess" Peterson achieves a startling vocalized effect with his two-handed voicings, before engaging Pass in a contrapunctal dance; and they swing out like dueling guitarists on "There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York."