“Tenderly,” Oscar Peterson with Herb Ellis & Ray Brown, Just-in-Time Records

“Tenderly” reminds us why Canadian born Oscar Peterson is considered one of the most talented jazz pianists in the world. “Tenderly” is a live recording of Peterson in concert with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass in Vancouver, Canada, in 1958.

As tracks such as the upbeat “How about you” and the whimsical “My funny Valentine” demonstrate, Peterson’s compositions are elegant and cool yet never conventional.

Brown’s moaning bass sparkles, providing a marvelous form to Peterson’s piano. Ellis’s guitar work is lively and entertaining but not overwhelming.

Due to the limitations of the recording technology of the time, the CD’s sound is not as crisp as it could be, but still manages to demonstrate Peterson’s, Ellis’s and Brown’s deep reservoir of talent.

“Cover the World – World Music Versions of Classic Pop Hits,” Various Artists, Putumayo“

American and British pop songs have sunk deep

into the cultural fabric of the world. This reality hit me in the face last year when l went to a small club in Mexico City and watched, to my astonishment, a Mexican rock band perform sizzling covers of American and British heavy metal classics in Spanish and English.

Exploring this theme, “Cover the World – World Music Versions of Classic Pop Hits” is a unique compilation of famous western pop songs performed by artists across the globe.

Most of the acts on “Cover the World” do not merely deliver bland imitations of famous western pop hits but impart their own rythms.

German group Mo’ Horizon does a spirited samba-hip hop version of the Ray Charles song “Hit the Road Jack,” sung beautifully by Brazilian singer Leila Pantel. Creating a moving and moody rendition of “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Benin-born singer Angelique Kidjo adds funk and Afro-pop to this Jimi Hendrix classic. African trio Les Go takes the Hall and Oates classic, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” and artfully infuses it with an Afro-pop edge.

That said, there is material that is not up to par. Toure Kunda’s version of the Phil Collins hit “Nobel” and Desiree’s cover of Ladysmith’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” are bland and colorless. But on the whole, “Cover the World” is an engaging exploration of western pop’s impact on the rest of the world.

“– Tim Pelzer (tpelzer@sprint.ca) “


Fred Gaboury
Fred Gaboury

Fred Gaboury was a member of the Editorial Board of the print edition of  People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo and wrote frequently on economic, labor and political issues. Gaboury died in 2004. Here is a small selection of Fred’s significant writings: Eight days in May Birmingham and the struggle for civil rights; Remembering the Rev. James Orange; Memphis 1968: We remember; June 19, 1953: The murder of the Rosenbergs; World Bank and International Monetary Fund strangle economies of Third World countries