Oscar PETERSON – A Night In Vienna 2003 (AVI)

Oscar PETERSON – A Night In Vienna 2003 (AVI)
Recorded in Vienna, Austria on Friday, November 21st, 2003.


Oscar Peterson’s greatness as a musician is beyond question. Yes, on A Night in Vienna you can see and hear some of the debilitating effects of the stroke he suffered in 1993. Many of the blues licks he played that are so familiar to my ears are missing here because of the weakness in his left hand.

That said, this performance, and the DVD in general, moves me deeply. I too miss Peterson at the height of his powers. I miss Ray Brown and E. Thigpen, and the trio juggernaut they created. However, Peterson is showing us here that we can’t live in the past.

To say that this DVD shouldn’t have been released due to Oscar’s difficulty with some musical passages is like telling 91 year old Hank Jones to quit playing piano because of the serious heart surgery he had a few years ago. It is not a fair request for people to make. If Oscar didn’t want the DVD released, I’m sure that a musician of his stature could have prevented it. As made clear by the accompanying documentary’s title alone, musicians have to keep the groove alive-no matter the adversity. It’s actually a matter of life and death. I don’t like cliches, but this one fits: If you want to see how life and art intersect for a great musician and fully mature man, this DVD is a great one to have.
By James Denson.
One of life’s experiences is growing older. Another is growing wiser. I, for one, am grateful that Oscar Peterson’s DVD A Night In Vienna was made, because we get one last chance to see Oscar performing as an older, wiser musician. While it did bring tears, it was for the beauty of the music, not because his virtuosity was not what it used to be. I have been an Oscar Peterson fan since the 60s. I have attended several live concerts in the 70s and 80s. He could play difficult riffs faster than just about anyone. But the magic for me was always in the slower, more introspective numbers. And nothing I have heard outdoes Requiem on this DVD for depth of feeling. Yes, Oscar has slowed down, but the joy in his playing still comes through every song. And it is so gratifying to see this 78-year old, who started playing music as a child prodigy, still enjoying good music among friends at an age when most of us are long retired. I watched this DVD back-to-back with his ’77 DVD, Jazz in Montreux, and I find the 2003 session even more satisfying due to its relaxed atmosphere and depth of feeling. This may be the last concert Oscar recorded for DVD, and it is a worthy tribute to this jazz legend. The quality of image and sound are excellent.
Oscar Peterson- (Piano)
Ulf Wakenius- (Guitar)
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen- (Bass)
Martin Drew- (Drums)
01. Falling in Love With Love
02. Nighttime
03. When Summer Comes
04. Cakewalk
05. Requiem
06. Sushi
07. Wheatland
08. The Backyard Blues
09. Satin Doll
10. Sweet Georgia Brown

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