Artists:
Fred Astaire
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Shavers
Flip Phillips
Barney Kessel
Ray Brown
Alvin Stoller

Producer:
Norman Granz
Cat No:CCD2001
Format: Double Audio CDs (Mono)
Release Date: 10 January 2012
Availabilty:
Repressing - Available in August 2014
RRP: £8.99
Buy The Astaire
Download Date:TBC

Recorded:
Radio Recorders, Hollywood
December, 1952

Original Release:
Mercury MGC 1001/4 (1953, USA)

The Astaire Story

In 1952, Norman Granz, the jazz producer and impresario of Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts and Clef records conceived to make a set of recordings featuring Fred Astaire and the Jazz at the Philharmonic musicians.He managed to obtain Astaire phone number, but Astaire's response was negative.

That night Granz went to a Duke Ellington concert, which he ran into Astaire and his son Fred Jr, who according to Granz had all of the JATP records. Fred Jr managed to persuade his father to be involved in this project.

Prior to recording, Granz was “doing research on every song he ever done”. He first consider a big band recording with Joe Lipman, but he realised that a small combo was preferable.

Fred went along with most of his suggestions, except for a couple of songs (Let's Face The Music and Dance, The Piccoline).

Astaire recorded 38 tracks for the project during 16 sessions in December 1952 at the Radio Recorder Studio in Hollywood, while making the MGM film The Band Wagon.

The musicians Granz selected for the project was the Oscar Peterson Trio who had been building up their reputation with extensive touring and recording. It featured a young Oscar Peterson on Piano, with Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Brown on Bass. Joining them was drummer Alvin Stoller, with saxophonist Flip Phillips and trumpeter Charlie Shavers.

Track Listing
  
Disc 1 
1 Isn't This a Lovely Day? (Irving Berlin) 
2 Puttin' on the Ritz (Irving Berlin) 
3 I Used to Be Color Blind (Irving Berlin) 
4 The Continental (Con Conrad & Herbert Magidson) 
5 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
6 Change Partners (Irving Berlin) 
7 S Wonderful (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
8 Lovely to Look At (Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern & Jimmy McHugh) 
9 They All Laughed (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
10 Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin) 
11 Steppin' Out with My Baby (Irving Berlin) 
12 The Way You Look Tonight (Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern) 
13 I've Got My Eyes on You (Cole Porter) 
14 Dancing in the Dark (Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz) 
15 The Carioca (Edward Eliscu, Gus Kahn & Vincent Youmans) 
16 Nice Work If You Can Get It (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
17 New Sun in the Sky (Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz) 
18 I Won't Dance (Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach & Jimmy McHugh) 
19  Fast Dances (Oscar Peterson) 
  
Disc 2 
1 Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (Irving Berlin) 
2 No Strings (I'm Fancy Free) (Irving Berlin) 
3 I Concentrate on You (Cole Porter) 
4 I'm Putting all My Eggs in One Basket (Irving Berlin) 
5 A Fine Romance (Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern) 
6 Night and Day (Cole Porter) 
7 Fascinating Rhythm (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
8 I Love Louisa (Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz) 
9 Slow Dances (Oscar Peterson) 
10 Medium Dances (Oscar Peterson) 
11 They Can't Take That Away from Me (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
12 You're Easy to Dance With (Irving Berlin) 
13 A Needle in a Haystack (Con Conrad & Herbert Magidson) 
14 So Near and Yet So Far (Cole Porter) 
15 A Foggy Day (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
16 Oh, Lady be Good! (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin) 
17 I'm Building Up to an Awful Letdown (Fred Astaire & Johnny Mercer) 
18 Not My Girl (Fred Astaire, Desmond Carter & Van Phillips) 
19 Jam Session for a Dancer (Oscar Peterson)