Oscar Peterson is regarded as one of the best jazz pianists in history. ‘Trio-ed’ up with Herb Ellis (Guitar) and Ray Brown (Double Bass), “the most stimulating” of trios, according to O.P himself, induces a higher level of musicianship and creativity, things necessary for good jazz, and indeed, good music. Three extremely accomplished musicians collaborating in such a way rarely happens nowadays, if at all, which makes me sad I was not born in the 50’s. Luckily, however, many recordings of their musical magic are available today, notably the collection entitled ‘Tenderly’. A live concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver in 1958, Tenderly features rarities of O.P’s repertoire.
The concert takes us on a journey through slow ballads and up-tempo bluesy tunes. ‘Alone Together’, the first track of the record, has a mysterious, dark feel to it initially, but as the musicians begin to open up, the three instruments combine to make a uniform sound – unique to the Oscar Peterson Trio. In the trio’s rendition of Richard Roger’s ‘My Funny Valentine’, O.P’s background in classical piano reveals itself and Bassist Ray Brown provides effortless sounding solos. Herb Ellis’ musical genius shines in his solo composition ‘Patricia’, a slow, meticulous, thought-provoking guitar ballad – in my opinion, a timeless piece of music.
Tenderly is a mainstream jazz masterpiece and would definitely make a great gift for anyone even vaguely into music. The recent remastered version makes clearer the complicated nature of Oscar Peterson’s Jazz, making it take numerous listens to hear it fully. The record contains 10 individual songs, totalling in 60 minutes of playing time and is available for purchase for under £10.