In trio formations, as soloist and fellow musician of the Singers Unlimited – this is how piano giant Oscar Peterson has so far appeared on the re-releases from the MPS catalogue. In the series Ambassadors for MPS, the Canadian now reveals another exciting face with a 1969 recording selected by Till Brönner: on Motions & Emotions we experience him with jazz versions of popular pieces from Pop, Easy Listening and Songwriting as the protagonist of a quartet of longtime companions, embedded in rich orchestral colors. She was painted by a magician of the guild, the great Claus Ogerman, who had previously worked for Tom Jobim. The Brazilian is also represented with his standard “Wave”, in which the orchestra builds a luminous tropical backdrop for Peterson’s fantastically dragged phrasing. Peterson and Ogerman pay tribute to another great orchestra leader, Henry Mancini, in “Sally’s Tomato” with feather-light trilling brilliance. Jimmy Webb’s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” experiences a metamorphosis almost into the classical – Ogerman opens infinite sound spaces here with the distantly indulging strings. Bobby Gentrys “Ode To Billy Joe” cleverly abducts Countryfolk into Bigband Jazz by means of fiery keyboard playing. Finally the hits: from soul comes Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny”, whose theme the pianist here cleverly harmonizes out to then decorate it bluesy in dialogue with the wind instruments. Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love With You” shines with a leisurely late night mood and a pompous finale. Yesterday” is provided with a sparkling bossa substructure, while the second Beatles homage “Eleanor Rigby” oscillates between loose groove, deep melancholy and swing. Peterson plus quartet plus orchestra: Enthusiastic detail work also in the popular sector.
“The question about favourite albums is basically not an easy one, except in my case, because Motions & Emotions by Oscar Peterson is actually my absolute favourite album. I think Motions & Emotions might even be the perfect instrumental album.”