To observe that Oscar Peterson (b. 1925) was in particularly exceptional form on the evening of July 13, 1980 at the Northsea Jazz Festival in Holland is rather like saying that John Updike wrote an especially lyrical passage. Here the Canadian-born pianist leads a drummerless, international quartet of fellow veteran virtuosos, featuring two frequent colleagues, the American guitarist Joe Pass and the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, plus a special guest, the Belgian grandmaster of the chromatic harmonica, Jean "Toots" Thielemans. Offering an 11-tune program that includes nine top-drawer standards, one modern jazz staple (the vibist Milt Jackson's "Bluesology"), and Peterson's own captivating waltz "City Lights," the group performs at an almost extrasensory level of inspiration, with a multi-tempo "Caravan" that is for the ages.
Live at the Northsea Jazz Festival, 1980 stands with anything ever recorded by these giants, who collectively have made scores of outstanding albums.
with Toots Thielemans, Joe Pass, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen