The Oscar Peterson Trio & The Singers Unlimited – In Tune (1973/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

The Oscar Peterson Trio & The Singers Unlimited – In Tune (1973/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 32:32 minutes | 607 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | Front cover | © MPS
Recorded at MPS Studios, Villingen, July 1971

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.

The Singers Unlimited were a logical extension of the Hi-Lo’s. Gene Puerling and Don Shelton were both members of the Hi-Lo’s and, after the group broke up, Puerling became a greatly in-demand arranger. In 1967 Puerling, Shelton, Len Dresslar, and Bonnie Herman came together to form the Singers Unlimited. They were a very unusual vocal group because Puerling wrote complex arrangements for the singers that utilized extensive multi-track recording. Rather than sounding like four voices, they often sounded like 16 or more, forming a dense choir. The group never performed live in clubs and concerts and was purely a studio group, recording 14 albums during 1971-1981. Oscar Peterson heard some of their work and recommended them to the MPS label. In 1971 his trio with bassist George Mraz (who at the time was known as Jiri Mraz) and drummer Louis Hayes recorded with the Singers Unlimited, or at least laid down tracks for the vocalists to overdub over. Most of the selections on In Tune are ballads with spots for Peterson to solo, although the voices naturally dominate. Among the more worthy performances are “The Gentle Rain,” “The Shadow of Your Smile,” and the “Sesame Street” theme. While In Tune (a straight reissue of the LP and a bit brief at 32 minutes) is a minor entry in the extensive discography of Oscar Peterson, it is considered an early milestone for the Singers Unlimited. ~~AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow


Tracklist:

1. Sesame Street 02:53
2. It Never Entered My Mind 04:01
3. Children’s Game 02:41
4. The Gentle Rain 03:25
5. A Child Is Born 03:42
6. The Shadow of Your Smile 04:30
7. Catherine 03:02
8. Once Upon a Summertime 03:37
9. Here’s That Rainy Day 04:40


Personnel:

Oscar Peterson, piano
Jiří Mráz, double bass
Louis Hayes, drums
The Singers Unlimited:
Gene Puerling, Len Dresslar, Bonnie Herman, Don Shelton, vocals

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