Night Train (Oscar Peterson album)

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Night Train
Studio album by
Released1963 (1963)
RecordedDecember 15 & 16, 1962
VenueLos Angeles, California
Length67:40 (1997 CD re-release)
ProducerNorman Granz
The Oscar Peterson Trio chronology
Put On a Happy Face
Night Train
Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle

Night Train is an album by the Oscar Peterson Trio, released in 1963 by Verve Records.


Album producer Norman Granz had sold the record label Verve, but remained Peterson's manager, and so supervised the Night Train recording session. The brief duration of many of the tracks has been attributed to a desire to have them played on commercial radio, which was reluctant to play any tracks longer than a few minutes.

The cover art photograph is by Pete Turner[1] and original sleeve notes were by Benny Green.

Music and recording[edit]

On the title track,

After the opening theme choruses, Peterson slips into a 2-chorus solo. Then the theme returns, and we realize that all the while, the band has gotten softer and softer. This leads into Brown's solo, which is unaccompanied to start, and then adds, in turn, Peterson and Thigpen. When Peterson comes in for another chorus of solo, everything starts to build again. Peterson plays a boogie figure in the bass to build the intensity, and then the trio plays a simple but effective shout chorus and then goes back to the theme with a strong crescendo to nearly the end, with a traditional Count Basie tag to close the track. By using the basic elements of crescendo and diminuendo, and arranged sections to set off the parts, Peterson turns what could have been a throwaway into a minor masterpiece.[2]

Ed Thigpen's rivet cymbal, recorded at very close range, is prominent on all issues of the album.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide3/5 stars[5]

Writing for AllMusic, critic John Bush wrote the release "includes stately covers of blues and R&B standards".[6] The Penguin Guide to Jazz included it in its core collection, claiming "it's one of the best long-players of the period"[7] and that Peterson's playing is "tight and uncharacteristically emotional".[7]


Diana Krall reported that listening to the album made being a jazz pianist her ambition.[2]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Night Train"[[[Jimmy Forrest]], Lewis Simpkins, Oscar Washington]4:52
2."C Jam Blues"Barney Bigard, Ellington3:26
3."Georgia on My Mind"Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell3:46
4."Bags' Groove"Milt Jackson5:43
5."Moten Swing"Bennie Moten2:55
6."Easy Does It"Sy Oliver, Trummy Young2:45
Side two
7."Honey Dripper"Joe Liggins2:24
8."Things Ain't What They Used to Be"Mercer Ellington, Ted Persons4:38
9."I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)"Ellington, Paul Francis Webster5:08
10."Band Call"Ellington3:55
11."Hymn to Freedom"Oscar Peterson5:38

CD bonus tracks
12."Happy Go Lucky Local (A.K.A. Night Train) (alternate take)"Ellington5:00
13."Volare"Franco Migliacci, Domenico Modugno, Mitchell Parish2:49
14."My Heart Belongs to Daddy"Cole Porter3:57
15."Moten Swing (rehearsal take)"Bennie Moten3:36
16."Now's the Time"Charlie Parker2:36
17."This Could Be the Start of Something"Steve Allen5:11

(Tracks 12 through 17 are CD bonus tracks, not included on the original vinyl LP)


Technical personnel[edit]


  1. ^ "Album Cover Art - Oscar Peterson Trio - Night Train". Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Cunniffe, Thomas "Oscar Peterson: Night Train". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Katz, Dick (December 1996) [CD booklet in 1997 Verve re-issue]
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Night Train > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 161. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  6. ^ Bush, John. "Night Train > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cook, Richard and Morton, Brian (2008) The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.), Penguin, p. 1153.