Arts Desk

DC Jazz Festival: Marian Petrescu Plays Oscar Peterson

Marian PetrescuRomanian pianist Marian Petrescu is unabashed in his reverence for Oscar Peterson. That's hardly anything new; the late great Canadian is acknowledged as the most accomplished jazz piano player since World War II, a singular and towering figure. But the 40-year-old Petrescu has a particular devotion to Peterson, one that he takes pride in expressing. Last year, he took a starring role on his record label's (Resonance Records) tribute CD, Resonance Big Band Pays Tribute to Oscar Peterson; that summer, he and his quartet recorded a live album (Thrivin') that featured two Peterson originals and several of his favorite standards.

In fact, while Petrescu bills his quartet as "with special guest Andreas Oberg," it's drummer Mark McLean who is the "extra" in the band. Petrescu, guitarist Oberg, and bassist David Finck have a chemistry and interplay that deeply echoes those in Peterson's classic piano-guitar-bass trios with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. (Not to take away from McLean, of course, who's a splendid drummer and sounds excellent with the band.) Appropriately, Petrescu brings this combo, along with violinist Christian Howes, in yet another tribute to Oscar Peterson tonight at the Historic Sixth and I Synagogue. Petrescu has chops to rival Peterson, and perhaps even more ornamentation on his melodies, but is a more harmonically subversive player, a unique spin on a classic sound that will be fun to hear live.

The Marian Petrescu Quartet Featuring Andreas Oberg and Christian Howes perform at 8 PM at Sixth and I. $18.

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