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Larry Kart

Oscar Peterson -- further thoughts

106 posts in this topic

For some it's all about virtuosity.  You can find it just about anywhere.  In jazz it can be a big thing.  Classical too.  Or blistering speed in a rock guitarist.  Or a blazing bluegrass picker.

Most people, even those not well-educated in music, can hear the "chops."  Determining "art," on the other hand, is another matter altogether.

 

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all good points, though I will say it is a mountain I have spent many years climbing.

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I'm listening to "Georgia on My Mind from" Night Train right now.  No space???

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It also has to do with the aesthetics of particular artists. Monk was the complete opposite of OP's aesthetic sense of what jazz piano should be. OP was the complete opposite of what Dick Katz, Fred Hersch and Bill Evans' aesthetic sense of what jazz piano should be.

Ray Charles loved OP. Fred Hersch hated and belittled Jaki Byard when he was studying with him at NEC. Thousands of jazz pianists worshipped OP. Thousands of pianists hated OP. And on and on...

I'd rather listen to Bill Evans, Eddie Costa Dick katz and Phineas Newborn than OP, but I still respect OP for what he accomplished. Hell, even Dr. Cornell West loved Oscar!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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44 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

all good points, though I will say it is a mountain I have spent many years climbing.

Completely understood.  And NO disrespect intended.

And besides, I'm sure that my way of thinking about this stuff is colored by the fact that I'm just a listener -- not a musician.  I don't have to muckety-muck with the practicalities of music-making like you do! ;) 

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no offense taken. I have many friends who like OP; I try to show them the True Way but, believe it or not, some continue to disagree with me. BTW I may have already mentioned it, but Bill Evans was a big admirer of Peterson.

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This is my go-to guy, pick a RPM.

 

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I have tried to make this point before. Why does it have to be either - or.  By that I mean why does the hostility toward Oscar Peterson remind me of what I hear / read from some about Donald Trump. 

And I should point out that I share to very strong negative opinions about Trump. But jazz piano is not the same thing. 

There are many jazz pianists both living and dead that I highly enjoy. There is no reason , at least for me, that One cannot enjoy Eddie Costa, Bill Evans, Sonny Clark, Cedar Walton, Barry Harris, Bud Powell, Jimmy Rowles and ... Oscar Peterson. Each brings something to the music that I find appealing in it's own way.

There are pianists that I don't care for much, but don"t  hate.

Edited by Peter Friedman

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46 minutes ago, Peter Friedman said:

I have tried to make this point before. Why does it have to be either - or.  By that I mean why does the hostility toward Oscar Peterson remind me of what I hear / read from some about Donald Trump. 

And I should point out that I share to very strong negative opinions about Trump. But jazz piano is not the same thing. 

There are many jazz pianists both living and dead that I highly enjoy. There is no reason , at least for me, that One cannot enjoy Eddie Costa, Bill Evans, Sonny Clark, Cedar Walton, Barry Harris, Bud Powell, Jimmy Rowles and ... Oscar Peterson. Each brings something to the music that I find appealing in it's own way.

There are pianists that I don't care for much, but don"t  hate.

I agree 100%, Peter.  If some pianist 'offends' you, why the F would you listen?

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1 hour ago, Ted O'Reilly said:

I agree 100%, Peter.  If some pianist 'offends' you, why the F would you listen?

Pretty hard to avoid Peterson if you like '50s Verve sessions.

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42 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Pretty hard to avoid Peterson if you like '50s Verve sessions.

More like impossible!

 

 

gregmo

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6 hours ago, sgcim said:

It also has to do with the aesthetics of particular artists. Monk was the complete opposite of OP's aesthetic sense of what jazz piano should be. OP was the complete opposite of what Dick Katz, Fred Hersch and Bill Evans' aesthetic sense of what jazz piano should be.

Ray Charles loved OP. Fred Hersch hated and belittled Jaki Byard when he was studying with him at NEC. Thousands of jazz pianists worshipped OP. Thousands of pianists hated OP. And on and on...

I'd rather listen to Bill Evans, Eddie Costa Dick katz and Phineas Newborn than OP, but I still respect OP for what he accomplished. Hell, even Dr. Cornell West loved Oscar!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks for this. 

2 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Pretty hard to avoid Peterson if you like '50s Verve sessions.

Serious question: Did any of the other musicians or singers  complain?  

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Yeah, it's just mind-boggling to think of  the musicians that OP played with, in all periods of his career--Stan Getz, Dizzy, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, Joe Pass, Clark Terry, Herb Ellis, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard, and that's just for starters.

   

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8 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

no offense taken. I have many friends who like OP; I try to show them the True Way but, believe it or not, some continue to disagree with me. BTW I may have already mentioned it, but Bill Evans was a big admirer of Peterson.

I'm sure he admired OP at some point, and stated it, but a friend of mine told me a story about BE and OP being on the same bill at a jazz festival.

BE was waiting for OP to finish before he went on, and BE was saying some uncomplimentary things about OP that I can't recall specifically.

He told me another story about a pianist who lived in the same building as BE, but was unaware that BE lived on the floor beneath him, so BE heard him practicing every day.

The pianist was introduced to BE one day by a mutual friend, and was asked if he ever heard of BE. The pianist felt sick when he realized who had been listening to him practice every day.

BE proceeded to recite a long list of what the pianist was doing wrong. He never touched the piano again...

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5 hours ago, sgcim said:

I'm sure he admired OP at some point, and stated it, but a friend of mine told me a story about BE and OP being on the same bill at a jazz festival.

BE was waiting for OP to finish before he went on, and BE was saying some uncomplimentary things about OP that I can't recall specifically.

He told me another story about a pianist who lived in the same building as BE, but was unaware that BE lived on the floor beneath him, so BE heard him practicing every day.

The pianist was introduced to BE one day by a mutual friend, and was asked if he ever heard of BE. The pianist felt sick when he realized who had been listening to him practice every day.

BE proceeded to recite a long list of what the pianist was doing wrong. He never touched the piano again...

What a sad story! :(

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My comment about Peterson not leaving space was during his comping for other soloists. I'll take your word for it that he leaves some space on "Georgia On My Mind". My ears have been wrecked by Monk. I listen to jazz for different things than Peterson is usually about, although Larry has me interested from his original post.

 

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Maybe we should do another thread on pianists (or anyone, for that matter) who are masters of space.  I'm sure Monk would be #1 in most books.

I think just about everyone who is great has that quality to some extent--make that to a significant extent.  I don't think one can be a great jazz musician while being lousy at playing ballads.

Edited by Milestones

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1 hour ago, Milestones said:

I think just about everyone who is great has that quality to some extent--make that to a significant extent.  I don't think one can be a great jazz musician while being lousy at playing ballads.

Shaq was terrible at free throws

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Just to show there is an exception to every rule.  However, Shaq will always be infamous for that.

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6 hours ago, Milestones said:

Maybe we should do another thread on pianists (or anyone, for that matter) who are masters of space.  I'm sure Monk would be #1 in most books.

 

No, Basie. :D

At least here. ^_^

BTW, this entire discussion (and others, similar ones on OP) - which I find relatively pointless, BTW (mainly for the reasons outlined by Milestones - you CAN'T apply absolute yardsticks to subjective perceptions of art, and in writing this I for one am certainly not the biggest OP fan around) - reminds me very much of earlier, MUCH earlier discussions and lots of opinions put into print  about ART TATUM. Written long ago, some while he was still alive, some not all that long afterwards. Plenty of virtuosity, chops - yes, but too much showing off, pianistic fireworks aplenty but this and virtuosity crowding out everything else, no jazz feel, so what he played not really being jazz, etc. etc. Yes - of course he is seen differently now but he did arouse a fair bit of controversies in various camps through the years too. And wouldn't really hold it against those who wrote it. Different strokes and perceptions that often change over time, that's all.

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On 3/15/2017 at 0:25 PM, AllenLowe said:

no offense taken. I have many friends who like OP; I try to show them the True Way but, believe it or not, some continue to disagree with me. BTW I may have already mentioned it, but Bill Evans was a big admirer of Peterson.

I can understand trying to convince someone to like something but why would you try to convince someone not like something? 

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1 hour ago, medjuck said:

I can understand trying to convince someone to like something but why would you try to convince someone not like something? 

Because everybody has to be convinced of something at some point?

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1 hour ago, medjuck said:

I can understand trying to convince someone to like something but why would you try to convince someone not like something? 

Joe, I see it, really, as no different than trying to convince someone to NOT vote for a particular political candidate. Sometimes people respond to new perspectives. And I find it to be as important as politics. Personally I have, more than once, been converted by persuasive artistic arguments. Sometimes it feels like a mission.

Edited by AllenLowe

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