(Editor's note: In this article, which first appeared in the Times in 1998, Oscar Peterson discussed some of his favorite recordings.)
Like many musicians, Oscar Peterson doesn't usually sit around listening to his albums. If he did take the time to pick out a few to enjoy, what would they be? "That's really hard to say," Peterson says. "There are so many." Nonetheless, here are his off-the-cuff choices and comments, in the order they came to mind:
* "Ain't but a Few of Us Left" (Original Jazz Classics). "I like this album I did with Bags vibist Milt Jackson. My playing on that was to my liking, groove-wise."
* "Exclusively for My Friends" (MPS, 4-CD boxed set). "I like some of the albums in the MPS solo series. I was sort of inside of myself for those albums and it was just right. There were no distractions, and I was sitting in a living room, and that probably helped--because I'm not really a studio person."
* "West Side Story" (Verve). "This one was a challenge. The music was really strange to us, not the kind of thing we were doing. We actually recorded the whole album in one day, which is what we did at that time, but when they played it back for me, I said, 'Cancel. That's not what I want.' So we went back into the studio and redid it, and that's what we released, the way I wanted it to be. Now I think that's one of my better albums."
* "Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie" (Pablo); "Oscar Peterson and Harry Edison" (Original Jazz Classics). "I love both these albums because there's such a total contrast on Dizzy and Sweets' end. And I had to play differently for each of them."
* "How Long Has This Been Going On" (with Sarah Vaughan) (Pablo). "Obviously, it's not mine, but I love the way this album came out."
* "Ella and Oscar" (Pablo). "I've done numerous albums with Ella Fitzgerald, and I love this one. It's one of my most favorite."
* "We Get Requests" (Verve). "Among the many trio albums, this is one that I really feel worked very well for us."
--Don HeckmanCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times