Unmistakable is an Oscar Peterson album that was recorded in 2010 at Abbey Road. The solo piano work is remarkably fresh, with Peterson playing at the peak of his powers. Yet Oscar Peterson died in 2007.
Welcome to the brave new world of Zenph Re-Performance. An Oscar Peterson concert from the mid-70s, the original recording of which was poor, was analysed by computers and recreated with electromagnets operating a Bösendorfer Imperial.
It’s a player piano for the 21st century. The technology was demonstrated for Peterson before his death, who heard Zenph’s recreatings of works from his hero Art Tatum.
I’m not sure what to think of this. The music sounds fine, Peterson’s runs and flourishes are all captured perfectly. But it seems almost too perfect, and just the knowledge that the recording was made mostly without human input predisposes me to dislike it. I would much prefer to hear an original live recording with lots of background noise than a pristine computer-aided recreation.
I can understand the benefit of other Zenph recordings, such as one in which Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff, but it seems somehow wrong for a Jazz cd – particularly one featuring an artist who has released work within recent decades.
Unmistakable features eight tracks presented in Stereo, and the same eight tracks are also presented in Binaural Stereo – the latter sounds the same as the former through my headphones.
The highlight of the album for me is a Duke Ellington medley featuring “Take the A Train” and “Satin Doll.”