Oscar's quartet is bathed in the splendor of a 20-piece string section on this swinging set of holiday tunes from '95. The ivories sparkle as he plays What Child Is This?; Jingle Bells; The Christmas Waltz; Silent Night; Away in a Manger; I'll Be Home for Christmas; White Christmas; O Christmas Tree , and more!
Oscar Peterson and his six-piece combo are all business on Peterson's 1995 Christmas recording, extolling the virtues of Peterson's intelligent and seductive keyboard work as well as those of his knowing sidemen. The result is a triumphant set of 14 standards showcasing the group's intricate interplay and tasty individual solos. The ensemble's instrument mix--a discreet blend of vibes, flügelhorn, guitar, bass, drums, and piano--adds splashes of color and shading on classics such as "Let It Snow" when you least expect it. Plus, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more knowing pianist. Peterson can be as sentimental as anyone , for example, on "White Christmas," while also slowing a down-tempo melody even more to create an intoxicating vista. With ensemble pieces led by one of jazz's living legends, Oscar's refined holiday record lacks only a yule log and a nice, smooth merlot. --Martin Keller