Ben Webster meets Oscar Peterson {Verve} “Master Edition”

Review by Stephen Cook (

Another fine Webster release on Verve that sees the tenor great once again backed by the deluxe Oscar Peterson Trio. In keeping with the high standard of their Soulville collaboration of two years prior, Webster and the trio — Peterson is joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen — use this 1959 date to conduct a clinic in ballad playing. And while Soulville certainly ranks as one of the tenor saxophonist’s best discs, the Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson set gets even higher marks for its almost transcendent marriage of after-hours elegance and effortless mid-tempo swing — none of Webster’s boogie-woogie piano work to break up the mood here. Besides reinvigorating such lithe strollers as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (nice bass work by Brown here) and “This Can’t Be Love,” Webster and company achieve classic status for their interpretation of the Sinatra gem “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” And to reassure Peterson fans worried about scant solo time for their hero, the pianist lays down a healthy number of extended runs, unobtrusively shadowing Webster’s vaporous tone and supple phrasing along the way. Not only a definite first-disc choice for Webster newcomers, but one of the jazz legend’s all-time great records.

01 – The Touch of Your Lips
02 – When Your Lover has Gone
03 – Bye-bye, Blackbird
04 – How Deep Is the Ocean?
05 – In the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning
06 – Sunday
07 – This Can’t Be Love

Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Oscar Peterson – piano
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans


Duke Jordan Trio – Flight to Denmark {SteepleChase}

Review by Michael G. Nastos (

Upon Duke Jordan’s initial visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by his decision to make the move as an expatriate permanent, he was tempted to stay by playing with some extraordinary Scandinavian rhythm sections. Bassist Mads Vinding, one of many skilled Danish jazz bassists, is here on the date performing in fine style. Drummer Ed Thigpen, who left the U.S. to take up permanent residence in Europe, was an even bigger influence in making Jordan’s decision a good one, and is an equally skillful musical partner on this date. This is an expanded edition from the previous original issue on the Steeplechase label; a Japanese import with several alternate takes. It’s an understated session for the most part, equal parts melancholy and hopeful, as one might expect with the trepidation of leaving home for new, unknown horizons to be discovered in a foreign land. The upbeat songs, as the modal, popping, tom-tom driven “No Problem” (from the movie soundtrack Les Liason Dangereuses) and the famous bop flag-waver “Jordu,” bookend the CD. The bulk of the recording showcases the softer side of Jordan, with takes of the somber ballad “Here’s That Rainy Day,” the slightly brighter “Everything Happens to Me,” and two versions of the polite waltz “Glad I Met Pat,” dedicated to a nine-year-old girl Jordan knew in New York City prior to her being kidnapped. The pianist employs chiming piano chords for “How Deep Is the Ocean?,” is lighthearted in his slight interpretation of the well worn “On Green Dolphin Street,” does two takes on the light, bluesy swinger “If I Did, Would You?,” and ramps up to midtempo the bluesy original “Flight to Denmark,” reflective of the insecurity and consequential optimism that followed his leaving the States. This is Duke Jordan at his most magnificent, with the ever-able Vinding and expert Thigpen playing their professional roles perfectly, producing perhaps the second best effort (next to Flight to Jordan from 13 years hence) from the famed bop pianist. [Originally released in 1973, Flight to Denmark was reissued as an import-only Japanese CD in 2002.]

01 – No Problem
02 – Here’s that Rainy Day
03 – Everything Happens to Me
04 – Glad I Met Pat (take 3)
05 – Glad I Met Pat (take 4)
06 – How Deep is the Ocean?
07 – On Green Dolphin Street
08 – If I Did – Would You? (take 1)
09 – If I Did – Would You? (take 2)
10 – Flight to Denmark
11 – No Problem (take 2)
12 – Jordu (take 1)

Duke Jordan – piano
Mads Vinding – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recorded November 25 & December 2, 1973 at “Sound Track”, Copenhagen.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Peterson – The Trio “Live from Chicago” {Verve}

Review by Scott Yanow (

The Oscar Peterson Trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen lacked the competitiveness of his earlier group with Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, and the later daring of his solo performances, but the pianist was generally in peak form during this era. He sticks to standards on this live CD (a good example of the Trio’s playing), stretching out “Sometimes I’m Happy” creatively for over 11 minutes and uplifting such songs as “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “Chicago” and “The Night We Called It a Day.” Few surprises occur, but Peterson plays at such a consistently high level that one doesn’t mind.

01 – I’ve Never Been in Love Before
02 – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
03 – Chicago
04 – The Night We Called it a Day
05 – Sometimes I’m Happy
06 – Whisper Not
07 – Billy Boy

Oscar Peterson – piano
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recorded September-October 1961 at the London House, Chicago.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Peterson Trio – We Get Requests {Verve}[K2HD]

Review by Stuart Broomer (

This 1964 studio session features the Peterson trio with bassist Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen, a group that had been together for five years by then and performed like a well-oiled machine. The repertoire is mostly pop songs of the day, including bossa nova tunes and film themes, and the treatments are fairly brief, with emphasis placed squarely on the melodies. Even in their lightest moments, though, the group demonstrates some of the qualities that made it among the most influential piano trios in jazz, a group that could generate tremendous rhythmic energy and a sense of developing musical detail. For all his legendary force, Peterson possesses a subtle rhythmic sense, and here he infuses even “People” with an undercurrent of swing. This is undemanding, tuneful music best suited for casual listening, but it still sparkles with the trio’s customary √©lan.

01 – You Look Good to Me
02 – Time and Again
03 – My One and Only Love
04 – Corcovado (Quiet Night of Quiet Stars)
05 – The Day of Wine and Roses
06 – People
07 – Have You met Miss Jones?
08 – The Girl from Ipanema
09 – D. & E.
10 – Goodbye J. D.

Oscar Peterson – piano
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recording Dates:
Batch 1: October 19, 1964 for tracks 4, 7 and 8;
Batch 2: October 20, 1964 for tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9
Batch 3: November 19 or 20, 1964 for track 10

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ed Thigpen – Young Men and Olds {Timeless}

Biography by Scott Yanow (

A tasteful and subtle drummer who is a master with brushes, Ed Thigpen is still most famous for his longtime membership with the Oscar Peterson Trio. The son of Ben Thigpen (who played drums with Andy Kirk’s Orchestra throughout the 1930s), Ed gained early experience playing with Cootie Williams from 1951-1952. After a period in the Army, he worked with Dinah Washington (1954), Lennie Tristano, Johnny Hodges, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor’s Trio (1956-1959). Thigpen replaced guitarist Herb Ellis with Peterson’s group in 1959, staying with the masterful pianist through 1965 and appearing on dozens of records. His quiet yet swinging style perfectly supported Peterson and bassist Ray Brown. After leaving Peterson, Thigpen spent two periods touring the world with Ella Fitzgerald during 1966-1972. He settled in Copenhagen in 1972, worked as a teacher, wrote several instructional books, and continued playing with the who’s who of jazz as a freelancer. As an occasional leader, Ed Thigpen has recorded dates for Verve (an obscurity from 1966), GNP Crescendo, Reckless, Timeless, and Justin Time.

01 – Strike Up the Band
02 – Yesterdays
03 – Summertime
04 – Night and Day
05 – Scramble
06 – Shufflin’ Long
07 – Oh My Gosh
08 – Dark Before Dawn
09 – I Should Care

Ed Thigpen – drums with;
Branford Marsalis, Bill Easley, Terrence Blanchard, Rolan Hanna,
Ronnie Mathews, Rufus Reid, Bobby Thomas Jr.

Recorded at RCA “A” Studio in N.Y.; March 20-21, 1989

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Sonny Stitt – Sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio {Verve}

Review by Review by Scott Yanow (

This CD combines a complete session that Sonny Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor) did with the 1959 Oscar Peterson Trio (which includes the pianist/leader, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Ed Thigpen) and three titles from 1957 with Peterson, Brown, guitarist Herb Ellis, and drummer Stan Levey. The music very much has the feel of a jam session and, other than a themeless blues, all of the songs are veteran standards. Highlights of this fine effort include “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “The Gypsy,” “Scrapple from the Apple,” “Easy Does It,” and “I Remember You.” Lots of cooking music.

01 – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
02 – Au Privave
03 – The Gypsy
04 – I’ll Remember April
05 – Scrapple from the Apple
06 – Moten Swing
07 – Blues for Pres, Sweets, Ben & all the Other Funky Ones
08 – Easy Does It
09 – I Didn’t Know what Time it Was
10 – I Remember You
11 – I Know that You Know

Sonny Stitt – alto & tenor saxophone
Oscar Peterson – piano
Herb Ellis – guitar
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen, Stan Levey – drums

Recorded May 18, 1959 (tracks 1-8); October 10, 1957 (tracks 9-11)

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Peterson Trio with Milt Jackson – Very Tall {Verve}[MFSL]

Review by Scott Yanow (

This first matchup on records between pianist Oscar Peterson and vibraphonist Milt Jackson was so logical that it is surprising it did not occur five years earlier. Originally recorded for Verve and three decades later reissued on this audiophile CD by Mobile Fidelity, the quartet set (which also includes bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen) swings as hard as one might expect. Highlights include “On Green Dolphin Street,” “The Work Song,” “John Brown’s Body” (a jam on “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) and “Reunion Blues.” Fortunately O.P. and Bags would meet up on records many times in the future (particularly during their Pablo years) but this first effort is a particularly strong set.

01 – Green Dolphin Street
02 – Heartstrings
03 – The Work Song
04 – John Brown’s Body
05 – A Wonderful Guy
06 – Reunion Blues

Oscar Peterson – piano
Milt Jackson – vibes
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recorded on December, 1961

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, covers