Two classic albums on one CD, 2012 new digital remaster with full original album art in booklet. Oscar Peterson's 1962 album, Oscar Peterson Plays: West Side Story, features the pianist and his trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, reinterpreting compositions from the classic 1961 film version of the Broadway musical. This is a highly engaging album that showcases Peterson's trio at their finest, with some truly inventive takes on such songs as "Somewhere," "Tonight," and "Maria." Oscar Peterson's 1959 album, Play Porgy & Bess, features the pianist and his trio (with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen) explore ten of the stronger themes from George Gershwin's Porgy & Bess. It is true that Peterson's version of "Summertime" will not make one forget the classic rendition by Miles Davis with Gil Evans but, as is true with all of these performances, Peterson makes the melodies sound like his own. "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin"' are among the more memorable selections.
All-star tribute albums are popping up as frequently as gourmet coffee houses, saluting the music of such artists as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to KISS and the Carpenters. But “The Songs of ‘West Side Story’ ” is different. Instead of paying homage to a performer, the album honors one of the most successful musicals in Broadway and film history. “The Songs of ‘West Side Story,’ ” due Jan. 30 on RCA Victor Records, brings together more than two dozen pop stars from rock, country, R&B; and jazz to offer their versions of the celebrated works by composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
One of the top guitarists of his generation, Bobby Broom's preferred setting is a small group, while he excels in the demanding trio setting with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins (with Makaya McCraven replacing him on three songs). Upper West Side Story includes nine originals, none of which is likely to become a jazz standard, but all of which are stimulating. "D's Blues" has an engaging hard bop hook that pulls the listener in immediately, while "Upper West Side Story" suggests a walk in Manhattan on a breezy spring day, with an infectious Latin undercurrent.