"The 1959 session Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson is a result of Verve founder Norman Granz’s desire to bring together musicians from different backgrounds. (He produced the Jazz at the Philharmonic jam sessions.) Oscar Peterson, he believed, could fit in anywhere. Although this LP isn’t my favorite Armstrong from the period, Granz (whose name in the original notes is misspelled 'Grans') makes his point. The twelve ballads recorded here include numbers Armstrong had never previously recorded. The emphasis is on Armstrong’s vocals. When he takes a trumpet solo, he sounds almost polite, as if unwilling to burst the bubble of the recording studio. Peterson is garrulous as usual, but doesn’t offer the kind of robust counterweight Armstrong is used to with his All Stars. There are no blues, but the songs are top notch. The record begins with 'That Old Feeling.' When Armstrong starts to sing, all is forgiven. He is just there, startlingly present. He’s my favorite male jazz singer: I even like the way he clears his throat on 'Let’s Fall in Love.'" — Michael Ullman, The Arts Fuse, Sept. 24, 2020. Read the entire review here.
"Louis, then in his mid ‘50s, and the all-star backing band cover a dozen familiar tunes including 'That Old Feeling,' 'Let's Fall In Love' (in which Louis takes a solo an octave up from what's expected), 'Just One of Those Things,' and 'What's New.' ... (this is a) thoroughly enjoyable and otherwise well-recorded Armstrong set. Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson provides a guaranteed emotional pick-up in genuinely dreary times. The sealed review copy was perfectly pressed at QRP and 100% silent, with the super-black backgrounds that QRP manages when all goes well in their presses." — Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com. Read the entire review here.
"In the second reissue of the Acoustic Sound Series, Universal Music Group has done a stellar job in re-mastering Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson to 180-gram vinyl. The new mix (Ryan Smith/Sterling Sound) is especially appealing. Armstrong's edgy vocal tonality is more smooth and fluent, centered directly. Instrumentation never overshadows the singing. A hi-gloss gatefold packaging and upgraded protective sleeve underscore the superior quality of this series. (Chad Kassem/Acoustic Sounds)." — 4.5/5 stars / Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, Aug. 12, 2020. Read the entire review here.
Seeking to offer definitive audiophile grade versions of some of the most historic and best jazz records ever recorded, Verve Label Group and Universal Music Enterprises' new audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series will launch July 31, 2020 with inaugural releases — the sensational collaborations, Stan Getz and João Gilberto's landmark Getz/Gilberto (1964) and the remarkable Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1959).
Utilizing the skills of the top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings, all titles will be mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality gatefold sleeves with tip-on jackets. The releases will be supervised by Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds, the world's largest source for audiophile recordings.
The Acoustic Sounds series will feature two releases a month highlighting a different storied label spanning Verve/UMe's extraordinarily rich archive. To begin with, the series will largely focus on some of the most popular albums from the ‘50s and ‘60s in their unmatched catalog. The July releases will celebrate two of Verve's most beloved albums, the aforementioned Getz/Gilberto and Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson, and will be followed in August by John Coltrane's immortal Impulse! records, A Love Supreme (1964) and Ballads (1963). Two of Nina Simone's legendary Phillips albums I Put A Spell On You (1965) and Pastel Blues (1965) will come in September which will be succeeded in October by two from the EmArcy Records vault: Sarah Vaughan's self-titled 1954 album, the vocal great's sole collaboration with influential trumpeter Clifford Brown, who is also represented alongside pioneering drummer Max Roach on the hard bop classic, Study In Brown (1955). November will spotlight Decca Records with the iconic Peggy Lee's first album, Black Coffee (1956), and composer George Russell's important New York, N.Y. (1959) performed by an all-star orchestra that includes Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Art Farmer and Milt Hinton, among others. All titles and exact release dates are listed below. Additional titles will be announced as the series progresses.
"We are excited to launch our Acoustic Sounds series," said Bruce Resnikoff, President & CEO of UMe. "Verve and UMe have one of the richest jazz catalogs ever recorded and our goal is to give vinyl and music lovers the best possible versions of classic albums. The Acoustic Sounds series is designed to appeal to today's most discriminating fans, and those discovering this treasured legacy for the first time, looking for the very finest in both artistic content and audio quality."
"We're very honored to have Verve and UME partnering with us to create what we believe will be the highest quality reissues of some of the world's greatest jazz albums. Each step in our production process — from title selection to mastering, pressing and packaging — is designed to meet the highest standards, and we want everyone who hears these albums to feel the love and hard work we put into everything we do," Kassem said. "We've long had a great relationship with UME, pressing classic titles at our Quality Record Pressings from many of their highest-profile artists. We look forward to strengthening that partnership even further with these reissues from Verve, home of the world's largest jazz catalog."
Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson is a brilliant undertaking in which Verve's legendary "house pianist" encountered one of jazz's most revered giants. A significant part of Peterson's genius was his ability to be an exceptional pianist and leader, while also being a perfect accompanist when the circumstance demands... and in a situation like this, to be both. Armstrong is not only recognized as one of the most innovative, singular, fascinating and beloved artists of the 20th century, but also one of the most generous in the way he embraced and stimulated his collaborators. Backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio — bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, and augmented by frequent fourth member Louis Bellson on drums — these peerless heavyweights created an album that is utterly compelling, radiantly jubilant and consummate in artistry.
The musicians provided the setting for the jewel that is Pops, with Peterson perfectly embellishing every phrase Armstrong sings or plays. The focus here is primarily upon his totally personal and thoroughly captivating vocal style, with his occasional trumpet solos limited in all but one case to a single chorus. Essentially culled from the Great American Song Book — Cole Porter, the Gershwins and Harold Arlen among the songwriters — the pieces range from poignant ballads and blues to effusive easy-grooved swing. Each song is an exquisitely crafted gem that will warm the heart and enrich the soul.