Influences #3: Oscar Peterson

Influences #3: Oscar Peterson

All this month we’re featuring songs that mean something to Yoko. Her third selection is the title track of Oscar Peterson’s 1963 album Night Train.

Yoko: “I can’t talk about specific performances of particular songs without mentioning Oscar Peterson’s version of ‘Night Train.’ I learned a lot about the style of playing blues piano by listening to Oscar play this song. There is so much spirit and joy in his playing. He doesn’t mess around — every note he plays means something. This trio operates as one with Ray Brown on the bass and Ed Thigpen on the drums. They are so tight together while still maintaining a loose feel. Great arrangement by the trio on this tune and Oscar swings so hard!”

A few notes about this recording:

Night Train is one of Oscar Peterson’s most commercially successful albums. Although Norman Granz had already sold the Verve label when this album was made, he was still Peterson’s manager, so he produced the recording. Diana Krall has said that this album made her want to become a jazz pianist.

4 Responses

  1. John T. says:

    Yes, I can clearly hear its influences in your playing and recordings.

  2. Jos de Groot says:

    It’s remarkable the bullseye you hit every time again Yoko! The loose feel ‘s what’s clearly can be heard with your play..and it’s really lost nowadays in music. Digital recording is already too ‘clean’ and the metronome is adjusted to 0.001 of a second so to speak.Hard to find the loose feel these days in pop music and unfortunately also in contemporary jazz music these days…Jos

    • Yoko Miwa says:

      Thank you Jos! I’m glad to hear you think my playing also has that loose feel. You’re totally right, we live in an age where everything rhythm is quantized which doesn’t really fit with the human experience and especially when speaking of jazz. 🙂 -Yoko

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