Robert J

Oscar Peterson - RIP

130 posts in this topic

A good way to remember Oscar at his peak is on those 'HGBS' home movies from Villingen captured in excerpt on the 'Jazzin' The Black Forest' DVD and I will be watching that this afternoon bay way of tribute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the full NY Times obituary. Could someone add an obit from a Canadian paper? It would be interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/24/arts/25p...;pagewanted=all

Oscar Peterson, Virtuoso of Jazz, Dies at 82

By RICHARD SEVERO

Published: December 24, 2007

Oscar Peterson, whose dazzling piano playing made him one of the most popular jazz artists in history, died Sunday night at his home in Mississauga, Ontario, outside Toronto. He was 82.

The cause was kidney failure, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Mr. Peterson had performed publicly for a time even after a stroke he suffered in 1993 had compromised movement in his left hand.

Mr. Peterson was one of the greatest virtuosos in jazz, with a technique that was always meticulous and ornate and sometimes overwhelming. But rather than expand the boundaries of jazz, he used his gifts in the service of moderation and reliability and in gratifying his devoted audiences, whether playing in a trio or solo. His technical accomplishments were always evident, almost transparently so. Even at his peak, there was very little tension in his playing.

One of the most prolific major stars in jazz history, he amassed an enormous discography. From the 1950s until his death, he released sometimes four or five albums a year, toured Europe and Japan frequently, and became a big draw at jazz festivals.

Norman Granz, his influential manager and producer, helped Mr. Peterson realize that success, setting loose a flow of records on his own Verve and Pablo labels and establishing him as a favorite in the touring “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concerts in the 1940s and ’50s.

Mr. Peterson won eight Grammy awards, as well as almost every possible honor in the jazz world. He played alongside giants of jazz like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge, Nat King Cole, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

Ellington referred to him as “Maharajah of the keyboard.” Count Basie said, “Oscar Peterson plays the best ivory box I’ve ever heard." The pianist and conductor Andre Previn called Mr. Peterson “the best” there was among jazz pianists.

In a review of a performance in 1987, Stephen Holden, writing in The New York Times, said, “Mr. Peterson’s rock-solid sense of swing, grounded in Count Basie, is balanced by a delicacy of tone and fleetness of touch that make his extended runs seem to almost disappear into the sky.” He added, “His amazing speed was matched by an equally amazing sense of thematic invention.”

But many critics found Mr. Peterson more derivative than original, especially early in his career. Some even suggested that his fantastic technique lacked coherence and was almost too much for some listeners to comprehend.

Billy Taylor, a fellow pianist and jazz historian, said he thought that while Mr. Peterson was a “remarkable musician,” his “phenomenal facility sometimes gets in the way of people’s listening.”

Whitney Balliett, the jazz critic of The New Yorker, wrote in 1966 that Mr. Peterson’s playing “continues to be a pudding made of the leavings of Art Tatum, Nat Cole and Teddy Wilson.”

The critical ambivalence was typified in 1973 by a review of a Peterson performance by John S. Wilson of The Times. Mr. Wilson wrote: “For the last 20 years, Oscar Peterson has been one of the most dazzling exponents of the flying fingers school of piano playing. His performances have tended to be beautifully executed displays of technique but woefully weak on emotional projection.”

The complaints evoked those heard in the 1940s about the great concert violinist Jascha Heifetz, who was occasionally accused of being so technically brilliant that one could not find his or the composer’s heart and soul in the music he played.

Gene Lees, Mr. Peterson’s biographer, defended Mr. Peterson as “a summational artist.”

“So was Mozart. So was Bach,” Mr. Lees wrote in his biography, “The Will to Swing (1990). “Bach and Mozart were both dealing with known vocabularies and an accepted body of aesthetic principles.” He noted that just as Bach used material that he first heard in Vivaldi. “Oscar uses a curious spinning figure that he got from Dizzy Gillespie,” Mr. Lees wrote.

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was born in the poor St. Antoine district of Montreal on Aug. 15, 1925, one of five children of Daniel Peterson, a West Indian immigrant, and the former Olivia John, whom Daniel had met in Montreal. Daniel Peterson worked as a sleeping car porter on the Canadian Pacific Railway and had taught himself how to play the organ before he landed in Halifax in 1917. Mr. Peterson’s mother, who also had roots in the Caribbean, encouraged Oscar to study music.

As a boy, Oscar began to learn the trumpet as well as the piano. At age 7, he contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized for 13 months. Fearing the strain the trumpet might have on his son’s lungs, Daniel Peterson persuaded Oscar to concentrate on piano. He studied first with Lou Hopper, then with Paul Alexander de Marsky, a Hungarian who had also given lessons to Oscar’s older sister, Daisy.

By his own account, Oscar believed he had become quite accomplished by age 14. Then heard a recording by Art Tatum.

“I gave up the piano for two solid months,” Mr. Peterson later recalled, and had “crying fits at night” because, he thought, that nobody else could ever be as good as Tatum.

The same year, however, he won an amateur competition sponsored by the CBC, prompting him to drop out of Montreal High School so that he could spend all his time playing the piano.

By 1942, Oscar Peterson was known in Canada as the “Brown Bomber of Boogie-Woogie,” an allusion to the nickname of the boxer Joe Louis and also to Mr. Peterson’s physical stature — 6 foot 3 and 25o pounds. Mr. Peterson became the only black member of the Johnny Holmes Orchestra, which toured both Canada and the United States. In parts of the United States, he discovered that he, like other blacks, would not be served in the same hotels and restaurants as the white musicians. Many times they would bring food out to him as he sat in the band’s bus, he recalled.

For a time, Mr. Peterson was so identified with boogie-woogie, a popular dance music, that he was denied wider recognition as a serious jazz musician. In 1947, the jazz impresario Norman Granz was on his way to Montreal’s airport in a taxi when he heard a live broadcast of Peterson playing at a Montreal lounge. He ordered the driver to turn the taxi around and take him to the lounge. There he persuaded Mr. Peterson to move away from boogie-woogie.

Mr. Peterson eventually became a mainstay of the “Jazz at the Philharmonic” series, which Mr. Granz created in the 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Peterson made his debut at Carnegie Hall and became a sensation. And a year later, he won Down Beat magazine’s reader’s poll for the first time; he would go on to win it 13 more times, the last time in 1972.

Over the years, his albums sold well, and he sometimes sang, recording numbers with Billy Holiday, Fred Astaire, Benny Carter, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Buddy DeFranco and many others.

Among his more notable long-playing recordings were the Song Books of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Harry Warren, Harold Arlen and Jimmy McHugh.

Perhaps his most famous threesome — from 1953 to 1958 — was with the guitarist Herb Ellis and the bassist Ray Brown.

In 1964, he recorded “The Canadiana Suite,” an extended work written for his home country; later, he wrote “African Suite” and then “A Royal Wedding Suite,” for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. Verve and Pablo released most of Mr. Peterson’s work, but he also recorded for the MPS and Telarc labels, among others.

Mr. Peterson was frequently invited to perform for heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth II and President Richard M. Nixon. In 2005 he became the first living person other than a reigning monarch to obtain a commemorative stamp in Canada, where streets, squares, concert halls and schools are named after him.

According to the CBC, Mr. Peterson was married four times and had six children from his first and third marriages: Lyn, Sharon, Gay, Oscar Jr., Norman and Joel. He also had a daughter, Celine, with his fourth wife, Kelly.

Mr. Peterson continued playing after his stroke in 1993 because, as he told The Chicago Tribune, “I think I have a closeness with the instrument that I’ve treasured over the years.” Before long he was back on tour and recording “Side By Side” with Itzhak Perlman, having learned to do more playing with his right hand. As he told Down Beat in 1997: “When I sit down to the piano, I don’t want any scuffling. I want it to be a love affair.”

Ben Ratliff contributed reporting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LA Times obit.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-...home-obituaries

This has links to a photo gallery and audio samples.

Pianist dazzled jazz world with technique, creativity

By Don Heckman, Special to The Times

December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson, whose technical virtuosity, imaginative improvising and ineffable sense of swing made him one of the jazz world's most influential and honored pianists, died Sunday. He was 82.

In failing health in recent months, Peterson died from kidney failure at his home in Mississauga, Canada, near Toronto, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Co.

From the time he came on the scene in the United States, beginning his six-decade career with a Carnegie Hall concert in 1949, Peterson was universally admired. His awards are almost countless. Among the most significant were eight Grammys, as well as a Recording Academy lifetime achievement honor in 1997. His home country -- where he continued to live for most of his life -- made him a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor, and he was the first living Canadian to be depicted on a postage stamp.

"I consider him to be the dominant piano player that established my foundation," pianist Herbie Hancock said Monday. "I had started off as a classical pianist, and I was dazzled by the precision of his playing. But it was primarily the groove that moved me about Oscar. The groove and the blues, but with the sophistication that I was used to from classical music."

Singer and pianist Diana Krall, like Peterson a Canadian, was similarly affected, generations later, by Peterson.

"He was the reason I became a jazz pianist," she told The Times. "In my high school yearbook it says that my goal is to become a jazz pianist like Oscar Peterson. I didn't know then we'd become such close friends over the years. We were together at his house in October, playing and singing songs together. Now it's almost impossible for me to think of him in the past tense."

At a time when the piano players of the fertile post-World War II jazz era were establishing their own beachheads on the scene -- Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, among many others -- Peterson's command of the instrument gave him a unique status, one that hadn't been seen since the prewar virtuosity of the legendary Art Tatum. Exhibiting a technique that dazzled even the classical pianists who heard him play, Tatum created hard-swinging, instantaneous compositions with content and structure that rivaled the complexities of a Chopin etude.

Peterson performed with some of jazz's most iconic figures, from Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong to Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald -- revealing the capacity to adjust to a diverse array of styles without losing contact with his own essential musical qualities.

"We came up about the same time," Brubeck told The Times some years ago. "And Oscar had everything going for him when he was still very young, maybe before he was 20. He had already encompassed what a jazz pianist should be."

That, in Peterson's case, meant a mastery reaching from stride piano through the swing era and into bebop. At several points in his career, he added singing to his arsenal of skills, producing a few recordings in which both his piano and his voice are remarkably reminiscent of Nat "King" Cole.

"Oscar's playing was magnificent and always wonderfully swinging," said Marian McPartland after hearing of Peterson's death. "He was the finest technician that I have seen."

Both his versatility and his fast-fingered brilliance provoked criticism from some observers who found it difficult to look past Peterson's technical prowess into the heart of his improvisational inventiveness. But Peterson always shrugged off the comments.

Bassist Ray Brown, one of the key members of Peterson's classic 1950s trio that also included guitarist Herb Ellis, felt the criticism missed what he believed was the real significance of Peterson's playing.

"I don't think very many people actually contribute to the music itself," Brown once told The Times. "That's left to a very few, like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. When they came up with that stuff they did, they brought a change in music. More often, I think that contributions are made to the instrument. Take Lester Young, for example. He brought something new to the saxophone, something different from Coleman Hawkins. The music was there; he just did it a different way. What I would say is that Oscar has made an enormous contribution to the piano. It hasn't been the same since he came on the scene."

Brubeck, agreeing, put it all in context. "You do what you have to do with whatever means you have at hand," he said, adding, more pointedly, "But if you've got all that technique, it would be terrible not to use it."

Peterson was quick, however, to acknowledge that he stood on the shoulders of giants. Hancock recalled a dinner at Quincy Jones' home a few years ago, at which he gathered the courage to ask a question of Peterson that had long troubled him.

"I'd always been afraid to ask," said Hancock. "But, knowing my own feelings about Art Tatum, I was curious about how Oscar felt about him. So I asked, and he said, 'Lemme tell you, sir. . . .'

"And he went on to tell me how, when he was a kid, he was a pretty good piano player, and he'd always hold his own in the cutting contests that young players had. And he said he got really cocky about it.

"So one day his father, who would take him to places to hear other piano players, said there was a guy coming in town that he might want to listen to. And Oscar said he thought, 'Well, who could this be? I can beat the best of them.'

"It was Art Tatum, of course. And he said that after he heard Tatum play, he went home, went up to the second floor of his house and immediately tried to push his piano out the window. He said he was never cocky again. And I said, 'You too, Oscar?' And he said, 'Me too. Tatum scared me to death.' "

Along the way, Peterson scared plenty of other players "to death." And despite his justified reverence for Tatum, he fashioned a career that easily stood on its own, in weight of accomplishment as well as creative longevity.

That longevity seemed to hit a roadblock in 1993 when the 68-year-old Peterson suffered a stroke, first experiencing its impact while he was performing at New York's Blue Note club.

"It was strange," he later told The Times. "I don't remember any pain or any particular discomfort other than the way the fingers on my left hand reacted."

Afterward, he was told that the stroke had been caused by high blood pressure rather than arterial blockage.

Depressed, Peterson returned to his home but didn't stay inactive for long. He underwent hours of therapy in an effort to regain control and flexibility as well as work through the psychological trauma of having to deal with his instrument in a completely new fashion.

But complete facility never returned to his left hand.

"I still can't do some of the things I used to be able to do," he said before a Hollywood Bowl appearance in 2001. "But I've learned to do more things with my right hand. And I've also moved in a direction that has always been important to me, toward concentrating on sound, toward making sure that each note counts."

What was remarkable about the performance was the musical effectiveness of Peterson's reformulation of the way he approached the piano. Although his left hand was primarily used for accents and single notes, his right hand, sometimes playing simultaneous melodies and counterlines, more then filled the gap. As pianist and Peterson acolyte Benny Green once noted, "Oscar can do more with one hand than many pianists can do with two."

Born Aug. 15, 1925, in Montreal, Peterson began to study piano at the age of 5, first with his father, Daniel, a West Indian immigrant, then with his older sister, Daisy. Despite being hospitalized with lung-damaging tuberculosis at the age of 6, he continued to study both piano and trumpet, urged on by his father, who insisted that all his five children have musical educations.

"Daisy was a real taskmaster when I was a kid," Peterson recalled. "I used to call her 'Attila.' Sometimes my father, who was a train conductor and an avid music fan, used to be away for two weeks at a time, and he always insisted that we practice while he was gone, and gave us the same exercises to do."

But Peterson, who had perfect pitch and the ability to quickly grasp and reproduce music as he heard it, spent most of the time playing on the street instead of practicing at the piano.

"Daisy always used to practice the lesson hard the day before my father returned," he said. "So I would sit on the stoop and hear what she played, and get it down that way, by listening without practicing. That worked fine until Dad found out what I was up to and began giving different lessons to each of us."

At 14, Peterson was studying with Paul de Marky, a Hungarian pianist who loved the classics and jazz and introduced him to Tatum.

"I was already drawn to improvisation," Peterson said. "I studied classical music, of course, but I liked the idea of creating something new each time I sat down at the keyboard. I still do."

In 1940, he won an amateur music competition and debuted on the "Fifteen Minutes of Piano Rambling" radio program in Montreal. With his father's permission, he dropped out of high school to focus on his music and was soon working with the Johnny Holmes big band. By the mid-1940s, he had formed his own trio and was being scouted by concert impresario Norman Granz for his "Jazz at the Philharmonic" concerts.

Quincy Jones, recalling his long friendship with Peterson on Monday, remembered the first time he heard him.

"Back in the day," he said, "those 'Jazz at the Philharmonic' shows were like the big stadium shows we have today. In fact, that's what got them started. And one year we heard a rumor that Norman Granz had a piano player that he was getting ready to expose . . . to the audience. Well, the joke from people who had heard him was that Oscar used to drink jet fuel and eat gunpowder every morning, because when he came up, he had everybody listening. He was a genius."

Peterson's first performance in a "Jazz at the Philharmonic" concert at Carnegie Hall underscored that fact. On stage with Parker, Young and Hawkins, he held his own, jet-starting a career that would remain in high gear into the next century.

"I came up in a great era," Peterson recalled of his early days with "Jazz at the Philharmonic." "The spirit we had! I remember one night the saxophonist Sonny Stitt locked horns with someone and played unbelievably well," he told The Times in 1986. "That night we were all sitting in the band bus waiting to leave; Stitt was the last to get on, and as he walked down the aisle of the bus to a man, everybody stood up and applauded. That's how it was when you threw the giants in with the other giants."

The connection with Granz continued for more than 30 years, resulting in countless performances around the world and dozens of albums. Many featured his classic partnership with Ellis and Brown, a group in which each of the players' strengths -- Peterson's virtuosity, Ellis' blues-drenched phrasing and Brown's rock-steady rhythms -- came together so perfectly that the trio was as influential with other musicians as it was popular with the jazz-listening audience.

Granz also teamed Peterson with other artists in the '70s -- Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Joe Pass among them. Recordings continued to be released at a prolific pace into the '80s, sometimes as many as six in a single year for the Verve and Pablo labels.

Peterson's recordings of the music of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen and Cole Porter set a standard for jazz interpretations of the Great American Songbook.

Although he was troubled for years by arthritic knees, Peterson continued to supplement his performances and recordings with other activities. His compositions include the atmospheric "Canadian Suite," the musical portrait "Trail of Dreams" and the "Music Box Suite" (also known as "Daisy's Dream," for his sister).

Peterson was articulate and informative on a variety of subjects including astronomy, photography, painting and politics. As communicative in his observations about jazz as he was in his musical performances, he may have provided the most insightful view of the forces that drove his lifetime pursuit of improvisational expressiveness.

The " 'will to perfection,' as I have termed it," he wrote in his autobiography, "A Jazz Odyssey: The Life of Oscar Peterson," "seems especially prevalent in jazz musicians. Creating an uninhibited, off-the-cuff musical composition in front of a large audience is a daredevil enterprise. . . . It requires you to collect all your sense, emotions, physical strength and mental power, and focus them totally onto the performance -- utter dedication, every time you play. And if that is scary, it is also uniquely exciting: Once it's bitten you, you never get rid of it."

Peterson was married four times, divorced three. He is survived by his fourth wife, Kelly, and their daughter, Celine. His survivors also include six children from his previous marriages and several grandchildren.

Services are pending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oscar Peterson, who once said playing piano gave him 'extreme joy,' dead at 82

16 hours ago

TORONTO - Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whose flying fingers mesmerized audiences around the world - from dance halls in 1940s Montreal to the lights of Carnegie Hall and beyond - has died at age 82.

He played alongside the giants of jazz: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Roy Eldridge, Nat King Cole, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, who once called Peterson the "Maharajah of the keyboard."

"Until the end, Oscar Peterson could tour the world and fill concert halls everywhere," said Andre Menard, artistic director and co-founder of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

"This is something that never diminished. His drawing power, his mystique as a musician, was so big that he remained at the top of his game until the end ... Oscar Peterson has been the musician every musician in the world can look up to and aspire to."

Word of Peterson's death at his home in Mississauga, Ont., set off a torrent of international tributes, including a statement from French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who said "one of the bright lights of jazz has gone out."

"He was a regular on the French stage, where the public adored his luminous style," Sarkozy added. "It is a great loss for us."

Heritage Minister Josee Verner called Peterson a great Canadian and a beloved citizen of the world.

"His musical legacy will live on, as will his generous spirit in the hearts of those who knew and loved him," she said in a statement.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien reminisced Monday about the display of mutual admiration that unfolded when he invited Peterson to a 2001 ceremony honouring South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Chretien had been a fan and friend of Peterson's for decades, and says he had already offered to make him Ontario's lieutenant-governor after he took office in 1993.

He said Peterson declined for health reasons.

Years later Chretien brought Peterson to an Ottawa event where Mandela was named an honourary Canadian citizen.

During a private meeting, Chretien recalled, the revolutionary political figure glowed upon meeting the great pianist.

"It was very emotional," Chretien said.

"They were both moved to meet each other. These were two men with humble beginnings who rose to very illustrious levels."

Known for the propulsive swing of his music as well as his astounding technical virtuosity, the Montreal-born Peterson visited almost every major concert hall around the globe, recording some of the country's most distinctive music including "Canadiana Suite" and "Hymn to Freedom."

"He just drove the whole bus," Senator Tommy Banks, also a pianist, said Monday in Edmonton.

For the master himself, playing piano was an "extreme joy" that he couldn't articulate.

"I can only transmit it through the playing; I can't put it into words," Peterson said in a 1996 interview.

When describing how Peterson's music made her feel, the late Fitzgerald once said: "It makes you want to sing."

Throughout his career, Peterson was showered with accolades. He collected eight Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award in 1997, hundreds of prizes from the jazz community, the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement and was a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2005 Canada Post marked his contribution to music with a 50-cent stamp.

He was set to be honoured again next month in Toronto.

Peterson was frequently invited to perform for various luminaries including the Queen and U.S. President Richard Nixon.

"The piano is like an extension of his own physical being," composer Phil Nimmons, who helped create "Canadiana Suite," said in 1975 of his longtime friend.

"I'm amazed at the speed of his creativity. I am not talking about mere technical capabilities, although his are awesome. I'm speaking of the times when you find him under optimum conditions of creativity. His mind can move as quickly as his fingers and that is what is so astounding."

Peterson began playing the piano and trumpet as a young boy under the stern tutelage of his father, Daniel Peterson, a West Indian immigrant who worked as a railway porter.

He continued with his piano studies under the watch of his older sister Daisy after tuberculosis damaged his lungs at age six.

At 14, Peterson earned his first break, winning the CBC's national amateur contest (and $250). With his father's permission, Peterson dropped out of school to focus on his budding career.

As the only black member of a dance band, he was frequently subjected to the racism of the day. Peterson spent a great deal of his life acting as a spokesman for minority rights, drawing on his experiences growing up St. Antoine district of Montreal.

International exposure came in 1948 when Norman Granz, producer of Jazz at the Philharmonic, heard Peterson on Montreal radio and later invited the 24-year-old to New York to play as a surprise guest at Carnegie Hall. After the performance, the young talent joined the troupe and toured North America with them for two years.

Peterson, whose career was managed by Granz for over 30 years, formed a trio in 1951 with Ray Brown on bass and Charlie Smith on drums and continued playing with the prestigious group.

His most famous threesome - from 1953 to 1958 - was with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown who were often cited as one of the world's finest jazz combos.

"You saw the greatness immediately," Ellis once said of Peterson. "He was awesome right away - always."

Ellis left the Peterson trio in 1958 and was replaced by drummer Ed Thigpen. That trio lasted for seven years.

Although Peterson was one of Canada's leading artistic exports, he was frequently mistaken as an American because of his Jazz at the Philharmonic performances.

"I've achieved a funny kind of status in Canada," he once said. "Most of it comes because I went to the United States and other places, and as a result of Canadians having seen me repeatedly on the television shows of people like Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin . . . I think that has weighed heavily with Canadians."

But he loved his home country and had lived in Mississauga since the late 1950s.

On a personal level, he was remembered as a low-key guy with a wonderful sense of humour.

"They named a school after him, he used to drop in unexpectedly to visit the school, that's the kind of person he was, very down to earth," Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said in an interview. "You didn't realize you were in the presence of a world famous jazz player."

Added Menard: "He was a really straightforward man. Lots of integrity. Whatever he promised, he would deliver."

Peterson was also well known for his kindness towards young artists, having tutored many an aspiring pianist.

Diana Krall credits Peterson for prompting her to pursue a musical career after catching one of his concerts as a young girl.

"You inspire me to no end every day," she told him in 2005 during a ceremony unveiling a Canada Post stamp in his honour.

In his efforts to coach youth, Peterson helped open Toronto's Advanced School of Contemporary Music in 1960 only to see his beloved project fail due to financial difficulties three years later. He didn't give up, serving as an adjunct music professor at York University in the mid-1980s and as its chancellor in the early 1990s.

Arthritis became a problem for the charming musician in the 1980s, causing him some pain in his hands and difficulty in walking yet he never seemed to slow down.

In 1993, at 68, he suffered a stroke which incapacitated his left hand. Peterson recovered and resumed performing two years later.

He then released "A Summer Night in Munich," a live recording of old and new material; an instructional CD-ROM; and "Trail of Dreams," a musical portrait of Canada commemorating the Trans Canada Trail.

"Age doesn't seem to enter into my thought to that great an extent," he said in 2001. "I just figure that the love I have of the instrument and my group and the medium itself works as a sort of a rejuvenating factor for me."

A spokesperson at a Mississauga, Ont., funeral home said Monday that a service for the pianist would be private.

McCallion said the cause of death was kidney failure.

http://canadianpress.google.com/article/AL...0j6K61HrnzB_i2w

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was never a huge fan of OP, even though I own quite a few of his recordings.

Not to be flip, but heck, it's hard not to own a few. They're everywhere!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was never a huge fan of OP, even though I own quite a few of his recordings.

Not to be flip, but heck, it's hard not to own a few. They're everywhere!

Exactly :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

edc

(has heard 100s of OP records, kept NONE except those with Ben Webster, Lester Young, Roy Eldrdige or Coleman Hawkins-- if i could do a music minus one move on these suckers i would, believe me.)_

p/s: F.V.S.O.P. too

You mean you didn't keep "Sonny side up" with Diz, Stitt & Rollins?

What what what what what!!!!!

That's Ray Bryant, dude.

Har Har Har! Yes it is! Ageing juvenile Binky Tupperware was advising me earlier!

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems appropriate to play his Christmas album on Telarc. RIP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another voice heard from:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainmen...hi_tab01_layout

Viz: "The technical brilliance, unprecedented speed and hard-driving swing of Peterson's best work inspired generations of artists. But it also drove them to despair, for they knew Peterson's feats could not be matched, much less topped."

Yes, the mental wards are full of jazz pianists driven to despair in just that manner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another voice heard from:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainmen...hi_tab01_layout

Viz: "The technical brilliance, unprecedented speed and hard-driving swing of Peterson's best work inspired generations of artists. But it also drove them to despair, for they knew Peterson's feats could not be matched, much less topped."

Yes, the mental wards are full of jazz pianists driven to despair in just that manner.

Indeed :) It is a great pity that hype such as this gets such a wide reading, because it's clearly recognisable as such and generates its own resistance, where a more measured approach might generate interest.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed :) It is a great pity that hype such as this gets such a wide reading, because it's clearly recognisable as such and generates its own resistance, where a more measured approach might generate interest.

MG, that's well said, and about a lot of people!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another voice heard from:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainmen...hi_tab01_layout

Viz: "The technical brilliance, unprecedented speed and hard-driving swing of Peterson's best work inspired generations of artists. But it also drove them to despair, for they knew Peterson's feats could not be matched, much less topped."

Yes, the mental wards are full of jazz pianists driven to despair in just that manner.

Indeed :) It is a great pity that hype such as this gets such a wide reading, because it's clearly recognisable as such and generates its own resistance, where a more measured approach might generate interest.

MG

And another hearty "amen" to that! Well said!

With all the back-and-forth on this thread it reminds me of why I originally posted a simple "R.I.P." and left it at that. I didn't think that it was the time or place to say that I've never been much of a fan of O.P.'s playing and agree with edc's take on him. Personal taste and all. And I've never been much of a fan of Tatum either (sacrilege?) But one's worth as a human being has nothing to do with one's relative worth as an artist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve Voce's obit in The Independent:

Oscar Peterson: Virtuoso pianist who dominated jazz piano in the second half of the 20th century

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, pianist: born Montreal, Quebec 15 August 1925; married first Lillie Fraser (deceased; two sons, three daughters; marriage dissolved), second 1958 Sandra King (marriage dissolved 1976), third 1977 Charlotte Huber (one daughter; marriage dissolved), fourth Kelly Green (one daughter); died Mississauga, Ontario 24 December 2007

Published: 26 December 2007

Following Oscar Peterson on stage at a concert in 1967, Duke Ellington remarked: "When I was a small boy my music teacher was Mrs Clinkscales. The first thing she ever said to me was, 'Edward, always remember, whatever you do, don't sit down at the piano after Oscar Peterson'."

In 1953, Nat King Cole said to Peterson, "I'll make a deal with you, Oscar. You don't sing and I won't play the piano." Peterson had just recorded his first album of vocals, accompanying himself on the piano. His voice sounded remarkably like Cole's and his piano style had also evolved so that it sounded close to Cole's work with Cole's own trio. The two jazz musicians agreed, and Oscar Peterson gave up singing, while Nat King Cole recorded piano-less vocals backed by huge orchestras.

Earlier, in 1945, a 16-year-old John Williams, later to be Stan Getz's pianist, was on tour in Canada with the Mal Hallett band and was playing in Montreal. "All the talk in the crowd was of a brilliant local pianist," said Williams, "and as we played, suddenly, between numbers, the packed audience in the dance hall parted like the Red Sea and this huge guy came up towards the bandstand. With some insight, I vacated that piano bench quick and he sat down. He played, and we were stunned. I had never heard anyone play like that."

Peterson could overwhelm any style of jazz piano and he could swing harder than any other player. In fact, the best way to define the elusive quality of "swing" might be to use a Peterson performance as an illustration. He had a deep knowledge of jazz history and could play two-fisted stride, or complex and intricate bebop. His timing and imagination also made him one of the great ballad players. He had everything, with only an occasional penchant for rococo decoration to detract from his achievements.

Such a talent attracted every award going and among his seven Grammies was one in 1997 for Lifetime Achievement. "Oscar Peterson is head and shoulders above any pianist alive today," said another doyen of the instrument, Hank Jones, in the early 1990s. "Oscar is the apex. He is the crowning ruler of all the pianists in the jazz world. No question about it." The pianist Marian McPartland described him as "the finest technician that I have seen."

Outside of his friend Art Tatum, Peterson had the most prodigious piano technique in jazz. He made it sound so easy to play the complex note-perfect and lightning runs with which he turbo-charged the piano keyboard that a lot of people took him for granted. The less aware regarded him as facile and his formidable bustling runs as showing off. In fact, he was riding an inspiration that seldom flagged to explore some of the more complex harmonic depths of the instrument.

Beginning in 1950 when he won the Down Beat magazine poll as the year's leading pianist, Peterson topped every one of the major magazine polls, some of them many times over. But it was by no means all roses. Miles Davis was one of his critics. "Nearly everything he plays," said Davis, "he plays with the same degree of force. He leaves no holes for the rhythm section." Distinguished writers such as the musicologist Max Harrison and the New Yorker columnist Whitney Balliett thought Peterson's playing to be glib and superfical.

The most important and effective years of Peterson's career from 1949 until 1986 were spent working for the impresario Norman Granz. Granz carefully nurtured the Canadian's career. He was an imaginative record producer and had a stable of stars that had Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald at its root. Peterson was the pianist on more than 200 of the many hundreds of jazz albums that Granz supervised and recorded, and at the height of his career he was making half a dozen albums a year under his own name.

Despite a genius that allowed him to express a thought through his fingers as soon as it arrived in his brain, Peterson could play, and loved to play, straightforward down-home jazz. He was one of the best-ever blues pianists in jazz and also, despite the huge urgency of his solo skills, one of its cosmopolitan accompanists. Just as well, for he worked with most of the giants of jazz from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker, from Coleman Hawkins to Ella Fitzgerald, from Lester Young to Stan Getz. So universally was he acclaimed that all he had to do to receive a standing ovation from an audience was to walk on stage.

Oscar Peterson's father was a former boatswain on a sailing boat who came from the West Indies to work as a railway porter in Montreal. His mother, from the Virgin Islands, had arrived in the city as cook and housekeeper for an English family. It was there that they met and married, and where Oscar was born in 1925.

His father taught music to all his five children, and Oscar began to learn piano and trumpet when he was five. Two years later, severe tuberculosis ended his trumpeting and he concentrated on the piano. His elder sister Daisy helped with his tuition and three years later Oscar began taking lessons in classical piano. In an interesting link, he studied with Paul de Marky, a Hungarian pianist who had been a student in Budapest of Istvá* Tomá*, whose teacher was Franz Liszt.

Peterson recalled: "I guess I was about 10 or 11 when my Dad thought I was getting too pleased with myself. So he brought home a friend with some Art Tatum records." One of the records was Tatum's "Tiger Rag". Tatum's improvising was so complex and multi-layered that Peterson thought there was more than one pianist involved. "And when I found there wasn't, I was so discouraged that I didn't play for a month. When I heard him live? Same thing. Only worse. No one plays like Art Tatum."

Peterson was a high-school classmate of the trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, and the two of them played together in a band led by Ferguson's brother Percy. Then, when he was 14, Peterson won a local talent contest, and was given his own weekly 15-minute show on a Montreal radio station. With some reluctance his father allowed him to drop out of high school to concentrate on music. By 1947 he was working in the top Canadian band led by Johnny Holmes. Peterson formed his own trio in 1948 and recorded for several Canadian record companies.

Travelling to Montreal airport in a taxi in 1949, Norman Granz heard a live broadcast by Peterson from the Alberta Lounge on the car radio. He told the driver to turn around and head for the Alberta. Between sets he persuaded Peterson to come to New York and appear in a Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert he was about to present at Carnegie Hall on 18 September. The bill was to include Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Rich, Ray Brown and Ella Fitzgerald.

Granz found it impossible to get the pianist a US work permit in such a short time so decided that Peterson would appear as an apparently unpaid guest. At a prearranged point in the programme Granz announced that Peterson just happened to be in the audience and called him up on stage from his seat. Seldom have there been such momentous and public turning points in jazz.

In an explosion of talent, Peterson played three numbers accompanied by Ray Brown on bass. They unveiled to the world an amazing jazz player, fully fledged, who was to dominate jazz piano for the rest of the century. The recordings are encapsulated, along with three more of Peterson's performances at Carnegie Hall during the early Fifties, on an album on the Giant Steps label. Originally appearing on Granz's Clef label, the music is now out of copyright – it seems unbelievable that such fresh sounding and advanced playing is more than five decades old, and can be issued by anybody on CD without cost.

After the concert recording, Granz first took Peterson into the studio for his Clef label in 1950. He enrolled the pianist into his JATP unit and it toured for two seasons with Peterson appearing with accompaniment solely from the bassist Ray Brown. But, on Granz's advice, Peterson added a guitarist for the third season. The pianist had other Granz stablemates in his trio, and formed musical and personal associations with people like Brown and the guitarists Barney Kessel and Herb Ells that were to last for most of their lives.

In one of the concerts recorded on 13 September 1952, Peterson plays a version of "Tenderly" which is not just a classic performance but also a potted summary of his abilities. It begins with a lush solo rubato statement of the theme, so designed to make a contrast with the break into tempo when the guitarist Kessel and bassist Brown come in to give support. The music then moves to a sparse, almost Count Basie-like swing which builds to a juggernaut of rhythm climax before subsiding again to the rubato theme. This is a superb demonstration of how to swing that has rarely been matched on record.

It was also in 1952 that Granz had the imaginative and highly successful idea of recording an album with Fred Astaire singing and Peterson accompanying him.

Each JATP tour usually began in the autumn and finished at Christmas. Granz spent the summers in the recording studios. His output and income was phenomenal, and he was soon to become the most powerful figure in the jazz field. He fought hard for the rights of his musicians and Peterson's career flowered under his protection. "When I came to the United States, I came at a very bad time if you're talking about career launching," said Peterson.

I came in when there had been a swarm of pianists headed for their peaks. Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, George Shearing. And it was pretty rough fighting my way through those names. And no matter what you played, you were compared with or against them – the comparison bit is a human trait. There's always been that thing with pianists, of the gun-fighters coming to town, you know. You open up and you see six or eight pianists giving you the scan to find out what the weaknesses are or the improvements, as the case may be. There's a certain kind of personal challenge, keeping your edge going.

But on a lighter side Peterson was an impressive prankster, often in partnership with Ray Brown. On one occasion, as the trombonist Bill Harris was about to play a ballad solo on "But Beautiful" at a 1953 JATP concert, Brown had put a handful of small steel balls into the piano. These produced an impressive cacophony when Peterson tried to play and he had to reach over with one hand to try and pick the balls out of the instrument while accompanying Harris (badly) with the other. Harris, a giant of the trombone but a nervous player, was paradoxically a master joker. As he stepped back from the microphone he turned to Peterson and said, "One day. One day."

That day came on tour at the Rome opera house the following year. Peterson was due to sing a number with the trio. Harris had collected a tray full of glasses and empty bottles and put it on top of a ladder behind the back curtain of the stage. When Peterson began to sing "Tenderly", Harris waited for the title word, pushed the ladder over and ran. The subsequent crash was satisfyingly cataclysmic. The stage sloped and so the bottles and glasses rolled down towards the footlights. Granz was so enraged that no one dared to identify the culprit.

Granz drew all the giants of jazz that he personally enjoyed into the bounds of his empire. He sought out and recorded Art Tatum. Tatum, blind since early childhood, was a piano genius and until the day he died an astoundingly prodigious beer drinker. He and the more fastidious Peterson became close friends although Peterson remained perpetually intimidated by the older man's piano playing.

For many years Peterson confessed to being scared of playing in Tatum's presence. The ultimate Tatum follower, he also became the pianist who reached closest to Tatum's attainments. But Peterson was more direct. The rhythmic power of his playing and the use of block chords with the trio let him build up the impact of a big band.

He suffered a double blow when, in November 1956, learning that Tatum was dying, he flew to Los Angeles to be with him. Tatum died before he got there and when he did arrive Oscar was given a message telling him that his own father had also died that day.

He spoke often about Tatum, most eloquently on a British television special he recorded with Count Basie in 1975. It was part of a brief series that Peterson made for the BBC, which showed him to be an articulate presenter and raconteur.

Peterson's playing was less abstruse than Tatum's. Tatum tended to take away the listener's breath, but impressed rather than involved his audiences. He had originality and harmonic brilliance but rhythmically he didn't swing as Peterson could, and he was too involved with himself to be able to accompany other soloists. Peterson, even in his most complex work, was primarily accessible to his audiences, and he was able to accompany anyone well, be it Louis Armstrong or Dizzy Gillespie.

He also had gifts as a composer and in 1965 his "Canadiana Suite" was nominated by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as one of the best jazz compositions of the year.

Between 1968 and 1971 Peterson made an extraordinary series of solo studio recordings for the German MPS label, later to be sued over the material by Norman Granz. Encouraged by the remarkable sound quality of the recording techniques, the pianist put down some of his most impressive work. In this period he found an affinity with another Granz player, the guitarist Joe Pass, and the two recorded and appeared in concerts together. In 1972 Peterson began to give solo recitals.

In the mid Seventies a new trio came into being with the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and the English drummer Martin Drew.

Peterson returned to television in 1980 with the American series Oscar Peterson and Friends, to which he brought a wide range of musicians including Mary Lou Williams and Dizzy Gillespie. At the beginning of the decade Granz had recorded a number of duo albums pairing Peterson's piano and various trumpeters such as Clark Terry and Freddie Hubbard.

In 1984 Peterson joined the faculty of York University in Toronto, one of several Canadian universities that gave him an honorary doctorate. In 1991 he as made chancellor of the university.

Poor health and marital problems were the only blot on his success. Months before he suffered a serious stroke in 1993 he had had a hip replacement, and he continued to be afflicted by the arthritis he'd had since childhood. After the stroke he thought he would never play again. It took many months of therapy before he was able return to the concert platform. He resumed his recording career in January 1995. "I've learned something about patience," he said.

From that time his use of his left hand was severely limited and his recordings now tended to involve trumpet and saxophone players who could take some of the solo burden. In May 1995, with use of the left hand restored, he returned to Carnegie Hall once more. He toured Britain again, playing in London at the Barbican in 1996 and at the Albert Hall in 2005. Despite worsening arthritis that made it difficult for him to walk, he kept touring.

In 1984 Peterson was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour, and in 2005 he became the first living Canadian to be depicted on a postage stamp.

Steve Voce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve Voce's obit in The Independent:

Oscar Peterson: Virtuoso pianist who dominated jazz piano in the second half of the 20th century

Well, Oscar Peterson was certainly a dominant figure from the point of view of virtuosity in jazz piano. But I would conjecture that there is little question as to who the real dominant figure (dead or alive) was in jazz piano in the second half of the 20th century: BUD POWELL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, I've never been a fan of his music but I always give him utmost respect.

RIP, OP.

My thoughts exactly - I like his less virtuosic albums the best. A great loss of one of the best known jazz personalities over here.

R.I.P.

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my all time favorite Jazz pianists I will never see in concert.

He was such a talent....he will be missed.

Rest in Peace, Oscar.

Amen... Oscar Peterson (and of course my jazz lovin' mom) was a great inspiration and cornerstone of my deep love of jazz and decision to become a musician. When I was a little kid my mom often had Oscar Peterson on the record player. Her favorite lp was the live recording of the trio in Chicago in the early 60's on Verve with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. I really loved that album! I knew every solo on that record. I remember loving that record so much I brought it to my sixth grade teacher who had encouraged us to bring our music to "Music Appreciation Hour" for the rest of the class to listen to. I brought the record to school and was so excited I could barely wait for the music appreciation hour to begin.. When the time finally arrived I proudly put the needle at the start of the record; And to my dismay and disappointment only one classmate liked the record, a girl who's father owned a bar with a jumpin' juke box and had jazz on all the time in their home; everyone else, only into the top 40 hits of the day booed and wanted the record taken off.. That was my first realization that I was sadly but PROUDLY in a cultural minority much like Maynard G. Krebbs, the beatnik character I enjoyed and related to on the Dobie Gillis show. My fellow classmates were obviously not educated nor sophisticated enough when it came to music appreciation. At the time I just couldn't understand why they couldn't hear and feel the deepness in Oscar Peterson and the trio's soulful and swinging renderings of "I've never Been In Love Before", "Sometimes I'm Happy", "Whisper Not", "Billy Boy', or the sweet and melancholy ballads like "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" and 'The Night We Called It A Day", nor could they appreciate drummer Ed Thigpen's effortless and tasteful rhythmic mastery of the drums and brushes particularly on "Billy Boy", or the warm and soulful harmonic pulse and groovin' solos of bazz wizard Ray Brown, let alone the absolute depth and brilliance of Oscar Peterson's artistry and the awesome chemistry of the trio.

Edited by randissimo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jazz Pianists Pay Tribute By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: December 26, 2007

Filed at 7:12 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oscar Peterson's dazzling keyboard technique, commanding sense of swing and mastery of different piano styles could leave even his most accomplished peers awe-struck. His death brought forth tributes from jazz pianists spanning the generations.

Fellow jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck said he was ''saddened by the news of Oscar's passing.'' Peterson died Sunday of kidney failure at his home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

The 87-year-old Brubeck recalled the first time he ever heard a Peterson recording shortly after jazz impresario Norman Granz introduced the Canadian pianist to American audiences at a 1949 Carnegie Hall concert.

''I was in awe,'' Brubeck wrote in an e-mail Tuesday to The Associated Press. ''Every jazz pianist would soon know that Oscar was a master.''

Decades later, Brubeck found himself asked to help fill in at a 1993 Carnegie Hall concert after Peterson had to cancel his appearance because he had suffered a serious stroke.

''Ahmad Jamal, McCoy Tyner and I were asked to come to Carnegie Hall and take Oscar's place, when he was unable to perform. I'm not sure that the three of us playing at the top of our form were able to fill his shoes, but we gave it a try. Oscar, as Duke Ellington would say, was `beyond category.'''

Herbie Hancock, another jazz piano legend, said Peterson's influence could be found ''in the generations that came after him.''

''Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today,'' Hancock, 67, wrote in an e-mail. ''I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, hard blues grooving, and tenderness. ... No one will ever be able to take his place.''

Peterson had a similar impact on a young Diana Krall growing up in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She was spotted playing in local clubs by bassist Ray Brown, a longtime member of the Oscar Peterson Trio, who encouraged her to move to Los Angeles.

Peterson ''was the reason I became a jazz pianist,'' the 43-year-old singer-pianist told the Los Angeles Times. ''In my high school yearbook it says that my goal is to become a jazz pianist like Oscar Peterson.

''I didn't know then we'd become such close friends over the years. We were together at his house in October, playing and singing songs together. Now it's almost impossible for me to think of him in the past tense.''

While Peterson was known for his lightning-fast keyboard runs, jazz piano veteran Hank Jones called attention to his finesse and deft touch on melodic slow-tempo tunes.

''He had a beautiful approach to ballads, which a lot of pianists forget,'' the 89-year-old Jones told The Canadian Press.

Marian McPartland, host of National Public Radio's long-running ''Piano Jazz'' series, called Peterson ''the finest technician that I have seen.'' She recalled first meeting Peterson when she and her husband, jazz cornetist Jimmy McPartland, opened for him at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto in the 1940s.

''He was always wonderful to me and I have always felt very close to him,'' the 89-year-old jazz pianist said in a statement. ''I played at his tribute concert at Carnegie Hall earlier this year and performed `Tenderly,' which was always my favorite piece of his.''

The youngest pianist appearing at the tribute was 20-year-old Eldar Djangirov, who played the fast tempo ''Place St. Henri,'' named for the Montreal district where Peterson grew up.

Djangirov said he decided to become a jazz musician after listening to Peterson's records as a boy growing up in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan -- an indication of how far Peterson's reach spread.

''He was the first I ever heard and my main artistic influence,'' Djangirov said. ''He would play things with one hand that most piano players couldn't do with both of their hands.''

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Os...amp;oref=slogin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my all time favorite Jazz pianists I will never see in concert.

He was such a talent....he will be missed.

Rest in Peace, Oscar.

Amen... Oscar Peterson (and of course my jazz lovin' mom) was a great inspiration and cornerstone of my deep love of jazz and decision to become a musician. When I was a little kid my mom often had Oscar Peterson on the record player. Her favorite lp was the live recording of the trio in Chicago in the early 60's on Verve with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. I really loved that album! I knew every solo on that record. I remember loving that record so much I brought it to my sixth grade teacher who had encouraged us to bring our music to "Music Appreciation Hour" for the rest of the class to listen to. I brought the record to school and was so excited I could barely wait for the music appreciation hour to begin.. When the time finally arrived I proudly put the needle at the start of the record; And to my dismay and disappointment only one classmate liked the record, a girl who's father owned a bar with a jumpin' juke box and had jazz on all the time in their home; everyone else, only into the top 40 hits of the day booed and wanted the record taken off.. That was my first realization that I was sadly but PROUDLY in a cultural minority much like Maynard G. Krebbs, the beatnik character I enjoyed and related to on the Dobie Gillis show. My fellow classmates were obviously not educated nor sophisticated enough when it came to music appreciation. At the time I just couldn't understand why they couldn't hear and feel the deepness in Oscar Peterson and the trio's soulful and swinging renderings of "I've never Been In Love Before", "Sometimes I'm Happy", "Whisper Not", "Billy Boy', or the sweet and melancholy ballads like "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" and 'The Night We Called It A Day", nor could they appreciate drummer Ed Thigpen's effortless and tasteful rhythmic mastery of the drums and brushes particularly on "Billy Boy", or the warm and soulful harmonic pulse and groovin' solos of bazz wizard Ray Brown, let alone the absolute depth and brilliance of Oscar Peterson's artistry and the awesome chemistry of the trio.

Right on, Randissimo! Beautiful post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my all time favorite Jazz pianists I will never see in concert.

He was such a talent....he will be missed.

Rest in Peace, Oscar.

Amen... Oscar Peterson (and of course my jazz lovin' mom) was a great inspiration and cornerstone of my deep love of jazz and decision to become a musician. When I was a little kid my mom often had Oscar Peterson on the record player. Her favorite lp was the live recording of the trio in Chicago in the early 60's on Verve with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. I really loved that album! I knew every solo on that record. I remember loving that record so much I brought it to my sixth grade teacher who had encouraged us to bring our music to "Music Appreciation Hour" for the rest of the class to listen to. I brought the record to school and was so excited I could barely wait for the music appreciation hour to begin.. When the time finally arrived I proudly put the needle at the start of the record; And to my dismay and disappointment only one classmate liked the record, a girl who's father owned a bar with a jumpin' juke box and had jazz on all the time in their home; everyone else, only into the top 40 hits of the day booed and wanted the record taken off.. That was my first realization that I was sadly but PROUDLY in a cultural minority much like Maynard G. Krebbs, the beatnik character I enjoyed and related to on the Dobie Gillis show. My fellow classmates were obviously not educated nor sophisticated enough when it came to music appreciation. At the time I just couldn't understand why they couldn't hear and feel the deepness in Oscar Peterson and the trio's soulful and swinging renderings of "I've never Been In Love Before", "Sometimes I'm Happy", "Whisper Not", "Billy Boy', or the sweet and melancholy ballads like "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" and 'The Night We Called It A Day", nor could they appreciate drummer Ed Thigpen's effortless and tasteful rhythmic mastery of the drums and brushes particularly on "Billy Boy", or the warm and soulful harmonic pulse and groovin' solos of bazz wizard Ray Brown, let alone the absolute depth and brilliance of Oscar Peterson's artistry and the awesome chemistry of the trio.

Right on, Randissimo! Beautiful post.

By the way I still have that very record with my mom's signature of ownership in the upper right hand corner of the inner jacket above the liner notes. When she passed away I ended up with her record collection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was my first realization that I was sadly but PROUDLY in a cultural minority...

According to the majority of the posts in this thread, you're still in that minority, Randy.

:P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was my first realization that I was sadly but PROUDLY in a cultural minority...

According to the majority of the posts in this thread, you're still in that minority, Randy.

:P

:excited::crazy::lol::tup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The impressive thing about Oscar to me was that when he wanted to he could be a very laid-back, even subservient (sp?) accompanist---as witness dozens of recordings w/the likes of Pops, Ben Webster, Hawk, Fred Astaire.

He also was a master of a kind of blues-drenched staright 8th funk, as on a tune I can't recall the name of on the 'with the Singers Unlimited', also known as 'In Tune'---and one of my favorites of his and theirs. Also the 'composer' series.

I, like others here, didn't love every note he played for aforementioned reasons, but he sure owned that piano, didn't he? And his range was deep from exciting swing to beautiful, subtle balladeering.

There was a reason he was so beloved for so many years.

RIP, OP. You gave years of joy to people the world over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.