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The Berlin Concert
The Berlin Concert
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2007     1hr 20min

This performance from Berlin in 1989 features the Master of the Keyboard backed by the equally legendary bassist Niels-Henning Oersted Pedersen and drummer Martin Drew. Oscar Peterson was a star in Canada, his homeland, b...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Jazz
Studio: Inakustic Gmbh
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/13/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1985
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Oscar beats everyone in the scene!!!
Thomas O. Lee | Cambridge, MA | 04/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am only half-way through watching this DVD and I had to go on-line at Amazon and say what a mind-blowing experience I am having with this DVD performance by Oscar, Neils and Martin!!! The slow version of 'Who Can I Turn To?' is beautiful enough, but then the Trio kicks into high gear and you are off on a rocketship ride of your life!!! The audience goes nuts when it ends. Oscar cues Neils and Martin into a ridiculous prestissimo tempo and then walks off the stage. The duo cooks up a storm. Oscar comes back and POW - we are off on another rocketship ride. This time even FASTER!!! Then Oscar goes into a furious solo all by himself, and let me tell you I have never seen any pianist (or any human being for that matter) play so fast AND with such superb musical taste and artistry! I started to cry. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. In this world of war, genocide, hatred and injustice, Oscar reminded me that there is beauty and art in this world. The Arts would nourish us and keep us all safe and sane. Oscar is my idea of Heaven on Earth. God bless you, Oscar!!! Oh my God, now I can die!"
The Piano Titan
S J Buck | Kent, UK | 03/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fabulous recording from 1985, which is the first DVD of Oscar Peterson, in colour, with a proper trio that you can buy. Neils Pederson is on bass and Martin Drew is on drums.

They play a mixture of standards and Peterson originals:
Blues Etude
Falling in love with Belle Province
Nigerian Marketplace
A Salute to Bach
Skylark-My Foolish Heart
Who Can I Turn To
Yours Is My Heart Alone

Some of these are virtuoso shopwstoppers, but Peterson was always more than a great technician so there is some lovely ballad playing as well.

The DVD is region 0 and lasts 80 minutes. Having seen Oscar live in the 1980's, his shows were around this length, so you are probably getting the whole show on this DVD. The sound is good with 5.1 DD and DTS. Sadly there are no extras.

I can't recommend it strongly enough."
It will stick a grin to your face...
Ben FELTEN | France | 09/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For my 19th birthday, my friend Olivier who had - and still has - a jazz culture way deeper than mine gave me Oscar Peterson: Live!, a record that in many ways opened my ears to jazz. It swung fiercely, it was deeply rooted in blues, and it featured Peterson's jaw-dropping velocity. I still listen to it fondly. Later on, my collection of OP records increased, with Night Train and Nigerian Marketplace holding a special place in my heart.

When I realised that a DVD of a 1985 Oscar Peterson concert featuring Martin Drew on drums and Niels Hennig-Orsted Pedersen on bass had been released, I had to be on it like a rat on a piece of cheese: this is roughly my favourite period in Oscar Peterson's live playing, and the backing band I find the most interesting (the same one as on Nigerian Marketplace).

I watched The Berlin Concert over a couple of nights, and it's an absolute marvel. The concert opens with the so-called Bach Suite (here called A Salute to Bach). This is a marvelous trio of jazz compositions by Peterson inspired by harmonies used by Bach. It starts with an uptempo piece (called Allegro on Oscar Peterson: live!), then shifts to a more meditative composition (Andante) and ends with my favourite part, a wonderfully deep blues number called Bach's Blues. I already knew all of these, but the interpretations here are superb, with NHOP and Drew forming a perfect backdrop to Peterson's playing. Each of these three pieces (and indeed nearly each on the whole concert) starts with Peterson alone on the piano, and it's a marvel to see NHOP watching over Peterson's shoulder and nodding, or smiling at the improvisational turn these intros take.

After a somewhat deep beginning, the concert takes a slightly lighter touch with a succession of tunes more firmly in the ground of classic jazz. Peterson's playing is still as distinctive, of course, and he manages to remain melodic even at the lightning speeds he sometimes plays at. The rhythm section swings like hell and NHOP's supple sound and precision are nothing short of astounding. I surprised myself staring at the screen in disbelief several times, watching his right hand pluck at the double-basse's strings like a spider running on its web. But NHOP is not just a virtuoso. Indeed his melodic sense matches Peterson's and that's partly why I think they fit together so well. He's more than just part of the rhythm section, he's part of the front line at the same time, playing around the harmonies laid by the piano and soaring when it's his turn to take solos.

This concert is honestly great from start to finish, but the next highlight for me in the DVD is Nigerian Marketplace. I love that piece, it's intricate yet accessible, the theme is superb, carried by NHOP's funky sounding bass, it starts melancholy but gradually builds up to great intensity. Peterson's solo on this is breathtakingly beautiful. But the highlights don't stop there: the following tune, Cakewalk, is an uptempo swing that tears the place down. Everyone is playing really fast and yet, in the hands of these seasoned veterans, it sounds so easy... Astounding.

The DVD ends on two very fast covers, Perdido and Caravan, the second more interesting - in my opinion - as the first. It's the only time in the concert where you feel that Peterson is a bit of a show-off, but his playing is so amazing that it's hard to grudge him. On Caravan, his long fingers are moving so fast over the keyboard that you can't actually see them, they blur! The final chord is one of those rolling affairs that gradually builds up until you're convinced the piano itself is going to start rattling and then fall apart.

And I have a huge grin on my face. Yes, The Berlin Concert is that good.
Masterful performance. Inferior DVD quality
Chester Davis | Tallahassee, FL USA | 12/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Performance is superb. Problem is with image. Last half of DVD has an
intermittant blue band across the top of the picture which is quite annoying."