“Hymn To Freedom” Oscar Peterson Trio – Night Train (1963)
Oscar Peterson is one of a handful of jazz musicians whose accessibility belies his incredible ability. Capable of some of the hardest swing that jazz ever produced from a set of ivory keys, Night Train is the entry point for many, with Peterson’s minimal trio at its peak.
This is a truly cohesive unit, with Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. There’s not a note out of place, not that you would expect one on a jazz record, but the playing here is superb. “Moten Swing”, “Night Train”, and “Honey Dripper” are all easy favorites, but of particular note is the original album close, “Hymn To Freedom”.
Some will pick out the harmonic similarity between the main theme of this tune and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, but there’s no evidence that Simon consciously copied the melody.
When you get to the tremendous cascading rolls of piano that Peterson pulls off toward the end of the song, you’ve probably forgotten about that extraneous detail, and just reveled in the playing of these three great jazz musicians. You can click the image above for a link to the album on Spotify, and check out “Hymn To Freedom” below.