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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Put On A Happy Face - Oscar Peterson


Woodyn' You

Put On A Happy Face
Oscar Peterson Trio
Produced by Jim Davis
Director of Engineering: Val Valentine
Cover Design: Any Lehman
Recorded live at The London House, Chicago
Verve  V-8660

Oscar Peterson: Piano
Ray Brown: Bass
Ed Thigpen: Drums

From the back cover: There are several very clear differences between studio and club recordings, and most of hem work in favor of the club – if, as in this case, you have truly cohesive unit. Take, for example, the matter of length. There have of course been many studio-made tracks as long or longer than 8 1/2 minutes duration of the title tune here. But in the studio that is noticeable as a real long one, with an "extended" solo; it takes on some feeling of a special event. But in the more stretched-out atmosphere of a club, where on the average tunes are played for several more choruses, this Put On A Happy Face is of normal and quite unselfconscious length.

In the studio, there are engineers and producers and friends and such, all in plain view. On the bandstand, while you certainly know that the audience is out there, the darkness and at least partial isolation makes for a closer rapport. After all, Oscar and Ray have been playing at each other almost every night for all those years in this kind of setting. Something as difficult-sounding as Brown's bowed-bass work near the start of Peterson's ballad The Lonesome One can 'happen' with comparative ease on the stand; one shudders to think how complex it could get in the studio. The tender, edged-with-soulfulness performance of Jerome Kern's lovely Yesterdays might have come off just as well in another place. It might have, but I prefer to doubt that it would; to me, this is something that has to come off best on a dim-lit bandstand. At another extreme, there is the surging treatment of another fine old standard, George Gershwin's Soon. Without stooping to measure, I am forced to at least suspect that the tempo here climbs noticeably between start and finish. If so, someone would have called for another crack at it in a studio, and this romping version would have been lost forever. Fortunately, in a club the fact that a person like this "feels" good tends to be considered more important, and all of us listeners gain thereby - Orrin Keepnews

Put On A Happy Face
Old Folks
Woodyn' You
The Lonesome One

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