All jazz is avant-garde jazz. Oscar Peterson’s album We Get Requests (a wonderful title, both a boast and a complaint) is trio jazz: Oscar on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Ed Thigpen on drums (1964). But for moments in each song, Oscar travels beyond the piano. He transforms his instrument into a radio made of butter, into a tollbooth that only accepts Argentinian postage stamps, into a verb with a backache. Into glowing coals dropped onto a plate of spaghetti. Into an elevator operated by a hawk. Into a bronze kite with 30 eyes.
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