7 thoughts on “Oscar Peterson Trio: Hymn to Freedom”

  1. Well, I can cross this off my list for my week next month... I’d considered playing this on April 4th instead of Nina Simone’s “Why? (The King of Love is Dead),” but figured I’d hold off until May.

    This is one of Oscar’s greatest videotaped performances as far as I’m concerned, and one of the best jazz performances on video, period. He’s playing with his second classic trio lineup, with sublime Ray Brown on bass & Ed Thigpen on drums. (Thigpen replaced guitarist Herb Ellis from the original OPT in 1958 and left the year after this performance was recorded.) The middle section is astounding — Oscar makes the piano sound like a whole church choir, congregation, & organ going at full tilt. The support he gets from Brown & Thigpen is perfectly modulated, which displays their mastery in its own right.

    In my ears & eyes, this is a fifteen star video, even with the unfortunate mic bump in the bridge to the final statement of the hymn.

      1. It sure does.

        You know how occasionally people call for retiring the “Star Spangled Banner” because it’s hard to sing, or lyrically convoluted, or or militaristic, or whatever? This is one of two songs I’d be okay with replacing the “Star Spangled Banner” as national anthem. Peterson & his producer commissioned lyrics for the tune. I’ve heard it sung by a children’s choir, and let me tell you, it got really dusty in there.

        When every heart joins every heart
        and together yearns for liberty,
        that’s when we’ll be free.

        When every hand joins every hand
        and together molds our destiny,
        that’s when we’ll be free.

        Any hour, any day, the time soon will come
        when men will live in dignity;
        that’s when we’ll be free.

        When every man joins in our song,
        and together singing harmony,
        that’s when we’ll be free.

          1. Two words? Not bad for the linguistic conventions of 1962. (A woman wrote the lyrics, btw.) They found a way to perform it at Obama’s first inauguration.

            Replace the first “men” with “all” and the second “every man” with “everyone” and you’re done.

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