Aspects Of Oscar is one of the finest tributes to the master pianist Oscar Peterson that I have ever heard. The fact that it's under the leadership of my favorite bassist, Dave Young and features a band of talented Canadian musicians makes it all the more enjoyable. Dave Young's professional relationship with jazz giant Oscar Peterson spanned three decades during which he played in the Oscar Peterson Trio in appearances all over the world up until Peterson's death. "To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic sympatico and unerring sense of time have kept him in the foreground of the jazz picture." - Dr. Oscar Peterson
There are no weak links on this production, award winning producer/bassist Roberto Occhipinti has done a superlative job. The supporting cast of musicians are harmoniously in-sync with Young, his arrangements and with the Peterson songbook. The recording has captured a beautiful, emotional and tender musical portrait of Peterson as masterful a composer as he was a pianist.
From the masterpiece of Canadiana Suite (1964 Limelight Records), "Wheatland" opens the recording, a stirring melody of melancholy, yet a song full of hope that leads to a swinging ballad with guitarist Reg Schwager doing his best impression of Herb Ellis and Joe Pass. The standards are anything but, "I've Never Been In Love Before" swinging through and through, driven by the pulsing bass of Young and the drums of Terry Clarke making plenty of room for Robi Botos to show why he amongst the many top rated pianists who could have been called upon was given the task of laying down Peterson inspired piano lines. "Younger Than Springtime", "Smile", "Just Friend" and "Somewhere" are all treated fairly - each song given a fresh face, yet so very reminiscent of something Peterson would have played. "Cakewalk" another Peterson original lets fly with fire as trumpeter Kevin Turcotte burns from bright to brilliant. Young never fails to impress, every solo he embarks upon is outstanding, be it pizzicato or arco - the sound, the intonation, dynamics, excitement and passion always come through.
The final trio of compositions, all originals from Oscar Peterson, Live (1986 Pablo) "Bach suite-Andante", "Bach Suite-Fugue" and "Bach Blues" pure classical jazz as only classical jazz musicians could perform. Classical that swings, opening with heavy-handed bass melody and preceding to melodious ensemble work. Bach reigns supreme. The finale of "Bach Blues" leads us back to a song of hope a marching blues to freedom the freedom to play. Inspired and inspirational, Aspects Of Oscar by the Dave Young Quintet - a masterpiece.
Upon the death of Neils-Henning Pedersen, internationally famous bassist in the Oscar Petersen Quartet, Oscar had recently written in his online journal:
"David (Young) has been known, not only in Canadian music circles but because of his various travels in other countries, to be a more than talented bassist .....I immediately called on Dave to stand in the now empty bass position in my quartet. This was a decision that was made without any second thoughts due to the fact that David and I have worked and recorded together at earlier periods in my career. Happily, he responded unhesitatingly, and immediately agreed to join us. For those of you who may not be familiar with David's work, let me say this: David has stepped into a line of heavy jazz bass tradition that has preceded him. It is no easy task to follow the musical offerings of bassists such as Sam Jones, Ray Brown and Niels-Henning Pedersen. I cannot think of too many other bassists that would have the courage and, needless to say, the talent to walk in those musical footsteps!"