Words & Music – 1980

Oscar Peterson, Count Basie and Joe Pass

Classic music and a memorable chat between Peterson and Basie

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The masterful pianist Oscar Peterson proved to be a genial and well-informed host when he had his own jazz television show in Canada in the late-1970s.

Words & Music, a BBC production, finds Peterson continuing the role during a 1980 special.

After he and his trio (with bassist Niels Pederson and drummer Martin Drew) perform a jazz waltz, Peterson introduces Joe Pass who plays some brilliant unaccompanied guitar as only he could on “Ain’t Misbehavin.’”

Peterson chats briefly with Pass about the difficulty of playing a two-hour concert and a bit about Count Basie; that interlude is followed by clips showing the Basie orchestra playing “April In Paris” and Peterson and Basie performing a two-piano blues with Pederson and Drew.

Most memorable is the humorous and very interesting conversation between Peterson and Basie, particularly when they discuss the amazing Art Tatum and their encounters with him.

Peterson and Basie also perform “Blue and Sentimental” and “Jumpin’ With The Woodside” before the program concludes with Pass joining the Oscar Peterson Trio for an uptempo “Just Friends.”

All in all, it makes for a program that will delight jazz fans.

-Scott Yanow


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