I'm down with Oscar Peterson, whom I saw get helped to his piano bench a couple years ago at the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago, start rough and then turn in some playing maybe a handful of folks half his age could muster. But it always ticks me off when I'm flipping through the CDs at, say, a Barnes & Noble or a Borders and there are eight or 10 Peterson CDs available and one or two, if any, from some of the other great bop and post-bop keyboard masters, even Bud Powell for gosh sakes. (There's always plenty of Monk, too, but then Monk isn't a piano player per se. The piano is just the tool by which he plays his real instrument, his genius, which is a whole 'nother thing.)
You would be lucky, for example, to find anything from Elmo Hope and if you do it's probably "The All Star Sessions," a disk less about Hope than the horn men playing with him, Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd and Blue Mitchell among them. That's not the case on "Trio and Quintet," a CD I've wanted for some time and was happy to find last week that Blue Note has now reissued.
Hope has what I would call a light touch, happy and peppy on up-tempo pieces and deftly hinting at melancholy on ballads but not to the point of being depressing. There's always a little, well, hope in his playing. You get to hear him as the featured attraction on the first 10 cuts, in a trio with Percy Heath on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. The other 10 tracks actually include two quintets, with Harold Land on tenor, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Art Blakey drumming, among others. Almost entirely Hope compositions, it's a real keeper and a welcome bit of diversity in the piano jazz selection of your local CD seller.