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Soft Sands/Plays My Fair Lady

Album: Soft Sands/Plays My Fair Lady
# Song Title   Time
1)    Soft Sands
2)    On the Outside Looking In
3)    It Happens Every Spring
4)    Chanel
5)    You Took Advantage of Me
6)    Why, Oh Why
7)    Song To the Stars
8)    Echoes
9)    I've Never Left Your Arms
10)    Dream On a Summer Night
11)    Susquehanna
12)    I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
13)    Get Me To the Church On Time
14)    Show Me
15)    I Could Have Danced All Night
16)    On the Street Where You Live
17)    Wouldn't It Be Lovely
18)    Rain In Spain, The
19)    Golden Striker, The
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • In the '50s, the dividing line between jazz and pop music wasn't as deep as it would be a couple decades down the line, and it wasn't uncommon for a legitimate jazz artist such as Oscar Peterson to make an album that was squarely aimed at the mainstream audience, which is certainly the case with the two Peterson titles reissued on this set. 1957's Soft Sands found Peterson performing a selection of light romantic melodies, all in traditional pop-song length of roughly three minutes or less, accompanied by a small rhythm section and an orchestra directed by Buddy Bregman. The arrangements are silky smooth, complete with shimmering strings and glossy backing vocals, and Peterson even sings on a few cuts, revealing himself to be a strong, expressive performer with a certain aural resemblance to Nat King Cole. Peterson's piano work is subtle but expert, never intruding on the orchestra but making the most of his spaces, and his touch is superb on these tracks. Meanwhile, Oscar Peterson Plays My Fair Lady is much more of a straightforward jazz session, with Peterson joined by Ray Brown on bass and Gene Gammage on drums as he gracefully interprets songs from the musical My Fair Lady, then a smash hit on Broadway. Peterson approaches the songs like old standards (which is what they would become), and while he's willing to play with the melodies, for the most part he's happy to explore well within their frameworks, and Peterson, Brown, and Gammage play like a well-oiled machine, meshing easily with one another. This is more challenging than the easygoing sounds of Soft Sands, but the familiar melodies and the joie de vivre of these performances make them easily accessible while still a satisfying experience for jazz mavens. These two albums, long out of print prior to this reissue, may be a bit lightweight for hardcore jazz fans, but they certainly capture two different facets of Oscar Peterson's ineffable skill at the piano, and fans of classic piano jazz will find much to like in this set. ~ Mark Deming
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