Masterful piano playing meets up with elaborate vocal harmony in this legendary MPS summit meeting from the label’s early period. Oscar Peterson, MPS head Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer’s long-time friend and collaborator, along with Peterson’s colleagues, bassist George Mraz and drummer Louis Hayes, act as the counterweights to the vocal architects from Chicago. Peterson himself instigated the first contact between the Schwarzwald studio and The Singers Unlimited (TSU). That contact developed into a fruitful decade-long relationship; the Villingen studio’s superb technology perfectly suited the sophisticated requirements of vocal artist and leader Gene Puerling. Recorded in 1971, “In Tune” was TSU’s first album on MPS. It feeds off the languages of the two musical poles, whether it’s in the swinging give and take of the opener, “Sesame Street”, or in the switch from the reverential orchestrally-layered choir intro to Peterson’s sparkling play on “It Never Entered My Mind”. It’s the same with the dreamy arrangement of “The Shadow of Your Smile”; in his role as delicate accompanist, Peterson narrows it down to the essentials. Peterson and TSU soprano Bonnie Herman take improvisatory strolls together in the nostalgic Michel Legrand ballad “Once Upon a Summertime”. Two Brazilian excursions are highlighted: In Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “Children’s Game” TSU delivers polysyllabic ornamentation to Peterson’s rollicking waltz whimsy; in Luis Bonfá‘s “The Gentle Rain”, Peterson plays around with the amative choral harmonies.
Listen to the Oscar Peterson Essentials playlist: https://VA.lnk.to/OscarPeterson