Oscar Peterson – Motions & Emotions (1969/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 00:36:26 minutes | 681 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © MPS – Musik Produktion Schwarzwald
Recorded by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer at MPS-Studio, Villingen, March 1969; Orchestra recorded at A&R Studios, New York

Recorded in 1969, Motions & Emotions from Oscar Peterson is a bit of a departure from what the famed pianist was doing back in those days. Featuring lush orchestral arrangements by Claus Ogerman, known for his work with Frank Sinatra and more recently, Diana Krall, the album shows off Peterson and his trio members Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar and Bobby Durham on drums performing a wide range of cover songs, from the Beatles to Bacharach, Bobby Gentry to bossa nova.

For Motions & Emotions, his 1969 orchestral recording for the MPS label, Oscar Peterson was perfectly paired with the magisterial talents of arranger Claus Ogerman. Born in Ratibor, Germany, on April 29, 1930, Ogerman studied music and piano and by the early 1950s, was writing and playing piano for German radio big bands. Upon moving to New York in 1959, Ogerman almost immediately began arranging for pop artists like The Drifters, Leslie Gore, Little Eva and Connie Francis, scoring hit after hit, and adding his uniquely identifiable and classically influenced orchestral sound to albums by Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Wes Montgomery and Frank Sinatra.

Ogerman no longer recalls who was inspired to team the two together: “I assume that the impulse came from Oscar or [Peterson’s manager at the time] Norman Granz, who wanted me to work with other artists of his before.” Whatever the genesis of the idea, it makes for a most provocative collaboration. Unlike the pianist’s previous “with strings” records, there is no attempt on Motions & Emotions to cow-tow to the mere cliché of going for pretty or lush. Ogerman doesn’t “cushion” with strings here so much as provide the pianist with effective counterpoint. Peterson, a force of nature on the piano, is not so easily cradled by other sounds. And Ogerman gives the pianist something inspiring to spring forth from with his own ideas, clearly in the jazz realm.
Motions & Emotions represents the true virtuosity of both Oscar Peterson and Claus Ogerman. Despite a recording situation that separated the pianist from his orchestra, this album expresses a true individuality and sensitivity to seemingly opposing natures. As Peterson biographer Richard Palmer correctly notes in his book Oscar Peterson (Spellmount, 1984), “Oscar fronting a large ensemble has always been an exhilarating formula.” The collaboration with Claus Ogerman has added motions and emotions to extend that formula; one that, nearly four decades on, has positively stood the test of time. –Douglas Payne

1. Sally’s Tomato 03:08
2. Sunny 03:29
3. By the Time I Get to Phoenix 04:22
4. Wandering 02:55
5. This Guy’s in Love With You 03:47
6. Wave 06:04
7. Dreamsville 02:58
8. Yesterday 04:03
9. Eleanor Rigby 03:06
10. Ode to Billy Joe 02:40

Oscar Peterson, piano
Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar
Sam Jones, bass
Bobby Durham, drums
Claus Ogerman, arranger, conductor