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Oscar Peterson

One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded with, among others, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker. He was beyond doubt an authentic jazz piano virtuoso, with a remarkable and prolific legacy of recordings and performances.

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont was born on August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec.He began learning trumpet and piano from his father at the age of five, but by the age of seven, after a bout of tuberculosis, he concentrated on the piano. Some of the artists who influenced Peterson during the early years were Teddy Wilson, Nat "King" Cole, James P. Johnson and the legendary Art Tatum, to whom many have tried to compare Peterson in later years. In fact, one of his first exposures to the musical talents of Tatum came early in his teen years when his father played a Tatum record to him and Peterson was so intimidated by what he heard that he did not touch the piano for over a week.

Peterson has also credited his sister Daisy, a noted piano teacher in Montreal who also taught several other noted Canadian jazz musicians, with being an important teacher and influence on his career.

He soon developed a reputation as a technically brilliant and melodically inventive jazz pianist, and became a regular on Canadian radio. His United States introduction was at Carnegie Hall, New York City in 1949 by Norman Granz; owing to union restrictions his appearance could not be billed.

An important step in his career was joining impresario Norman Granz's labels (especially Verve records) and Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic package. Granz discovered Peterson in a peculiar manner: as the impresario was being taken to the Montreal airport by cab, the radio was playing a live broadcast of Peterson at a local night club. He was so smitten by what he heard that he ordered the driver to take him to the club so he could meet the pianist. So was born a lasting relationship, and Granz remained Peterson's manager for most of the latter's career. Through Granz's Jazz at the Philarmonic he was able to play with the major jazz artists of the time: some of his musical associates have included Ray Brown, Ben Webster, Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Ed Thigpen, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Louis Armstrong, Stéphane Grappelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Clark Terry, Joe Pass, Count Basie, and Stan Getz.

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4
Album Review

Oscar Peterson: Con Alma

Read "Con Alma" reviewed by Chris May


To borrow Duke Ellington's description of Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson was born poor, died rich and never hurt anyone along the way. He also brought joy to untold numbers of people. But, truth to tell, his style was the twentieth-century equivalent of modern day AI-produced generative music. Sit Peterson down at a piano, progamme him (as in give him a tune to play), and press Go: a torrent of technique poured out. Trouble is, Peterson's pianism was ...

11
Album Review

The Oscar Peterson Trio: Con Alma: The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Lugano, 1964

Read "Con Alma: The Oscar Peterson Trio Live in Lugano, 1964" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Was there ever a more generous player than Oscar Peterson? A man who, by simply doing the thing he most loved and thrilled to do, which was make people feel better way down deep in their bones, sat at his piano and made the world grateful? Rekindled that spark--of imagination, of potential, of better--just by running his hands along the eighty-eights and instigating his soul mates, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen to do the same. That ...

3
Album Review

Oscar Peterson Trio with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown: Vancouver 1958

Read "Vancouver 1958" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


This iteration of the Oscar Peterson Trio, with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown, had been together for five years at the time of this recording, but it was reaching its expiration date. Following appearances at The Vancouver Jazz Festival on August 4 and 8, 1958, there was only one further instance of the trio recording together that year, and that was for KABC-TV Stars of Jazz on August 18,1958 after which Herb Ellis left the band. The principals ...

11
Album Review

Various Artists: Putumayo Presents Jazz Christmas

Read "Putumayo Presents Jazz Christmas" reviewed by Jim Trageser


The Putumayo World Music compilations have achieved an enviable brand status with their wide-ranging stylistic variety and the distinctively cheerful covers by artist Lisa Gonzalez. The latest entry, Putumayo Presents Jazz Christmas joins previous entrants Putumayo Presents New Orleans Christmas (2007) and Putumayo Presents A Jazz & Blues Christmas (2008) in offering collections of holiday-themed entrants in a jazz vein. As with all of its jazz releases, Putumayo founder and curator Dan Storper's taste in jazz ...

6
Live Review

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2020

Read "Festival International de Jazz de Montréal  2020" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


2020 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Various Venues Montréal, Canada June 27-30, 2020 Above all else the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is a spectacular ten-day event: with around 2 million visitors and 500 concerts on 20 stages, it is ranked as the world's largest jazz festival in the Guinness World Records. Its 2020 cancellation due to the pandemic was a huge disappointment to the many jazz fans who have ...

4
Album Review

Oscar Peterson: Oscar Peterson Plays

Read "Oscar Peterson Plays" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) was just starting what turned out to be terrific career in 1951 when jazz impresario extraordinaire Norman Granz took him into the studio to record Plays Cole Porter (Clef Records, 1952). Granz had a grand plan: To have this then-promising jazz pianist record a number of albums under the Oscar Peterson Plays tag, each an immersion into a separate Great American Songbook tunesmith. It started with Cole Porter and ran through George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, ...

8
Album Review

Various Artists: Oscar, with Love

Read "Oscar, with Love" reviewed by Jack Bowers


To mark the ninetieth anniversary of the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson's birth (August 15, 2015), Peterson's widow, Kelly Peterson, produced a tribute album for the ages: Oscar, with Love, a marvelous three-disc set comprising ten never-before-recorded Peterson compositions, nineteen of his better-known works and seven compositions written especially for him, performed by sixteen contemporary piano masters on Peterson's personal Boesendorfer Imperial piano at his private studio in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Makoto Ozone has the honor of ...

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TV / Film

Doc: Oscar Peterson - Keeping the Groove Alive

Doc: Oscar Peterson - Keeping the Groove Alive

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers


Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Oscar Peterson's birthday today!

One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded ...

1

Video / DVD

A Craving for Oscar Peterson

A Craving for Oscar Peterson

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Yesterday, for some reason, I had a yen for Oscar Peterson. I'm not sure what triggered it. Perhaps it was the desire to create a sound wall as I wrote one of my “House Call" columns. Or maybe it came as I thought about Peterson's Motions and Emotions album from 1969. At any rate, I hopped on YouTube and discovered 10 relatively new videos of Peterson performances to share with you. Here are the clips: Here's Peterson with Ray Brown ...

2

Recording

Oscar Peterson: Live in Zurich, 1971

Oscar Peterson: Live in Zurich, 1971

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Pianist Oscar Peterson had some year in 1971. He recorded Oscar Peterson in London (in March), In Tune with the Singers Unlimited (in July), Reunion Blues with the Milt Jackson Quartet (in July), In Concert (in July) and Great Connection (in October). What all of these albums have in common is they were recorded in Europe. Now we can add a sixth—On a Clear Day: Live in Zurich 1971 (Mack Avenue)—recorded on November 24, 1971 at Zurich's Kongresshaus, a complex ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Oscar Peterson's birthday today!

One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Oscar Peterson's birthday today!

One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded ...

TV / Film

Documentary: Oscar Peterson

Documentary: Oscar Peterson

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers


Recording

Oscar Peterson: Girl Talk

Oscar Peterson: Girl Talk

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

As JazzWax readers know, I'm fairly picky about my Oscar Peterson albums. I find the pianist most spectacular when the song choices are spot-on and he's completely in the pocket and swinging. In other words, when I suddenly realize my right foot is tapping. Girl Talk is one of those Peterson albums. The second volume in the German MPS label's “Exclusively for My Friends" compilation series, Girl Talk was recorded between 1965and 1968 and released in '68. The series was ...

Video / DVD

Sonny Stitt and Oscar Peterson

Sonny Stitt and Oscar Peterson

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

I love Oscar Peterson's playing. I'm just never crazy about his tempos. As the leader on recording sessions with his trio or quartet, Peterson tended to take songs excruciatingly slow or erratically fast. I'm not sure why Verve and Pablo producer Norman Granz never bothered to mention this to him over a dinner or from the studio control booth. Only a handful of Peterson leadership albums are just right throughout. A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra (1959), West Side Story ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Oscar Peterson

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Oscar Peterson's birthday today!

One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded ...

Diane Marino
piano and vocals
Brian Nova
guitar
Ray Reach
piano
Gabriele D'Angela
guitar, electric
Kevin Hart
vibraphone
Omar Sosa
piano
Joey DeFrancesco
organ, Hammond B3
Eldad Tarmu
vibraphone
Fred Haas
saxophone
Henry Johnson Jazz
guitar and vocals
Ron Davis
vocals
Amy Shook
bass, acoustic
Jodi Michelle Proznick
bass, acoustic
Sam Watts
piano
Benny Weinbeck
organ, Hammond B3
Ed Roth
arranger
Don Hanson
saxophone
Robin Phillips
piano and vocals
Matthew Whitaker
organ, Hammond B3
Alexander Raichenok
saxophone, alto
Brenda Earle Stokes
piano and vocals
Dominik Schürmann
bass, acoustic
Greg Nathan
bass, acoustic
Phil Wilkinson
organ, Hammond B3
Kaitlyn Fay
vocals
Inbar Paz
bass, acoustic
Ryan Baker
vocals
Jonathan Ng
violin
Tal Klein
piano
Happiefingerz
multi-instrumentalist
Pete Coco
bass, acoustic
Tim Boniface
saxophone
roman gomez
bandoneon
K Quintet
band / ensemble / orchestra
DeWitt Fleming Jr
percussion
Joe Sykes
piano
Erik Hempel
bass, acoustic
Tibor Debreceni
guitar, electric
Ken Powe
piano
Sergio Alessandro Buslje
composer / conductor
Jacob Chung
saxophone, tenor
David J Perkins
keyboards
Timothy Alan Ford
piano and vocals
Eli Hershiser
saxophone
Gregory Lewis
organ, Hammond B3
Affinity Trio
band / ensemble / orchestra

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Vancouver 1958

Justin Time Essential Collection
2023

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Con Alma

Mack Avenue Records
2023

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On A Clear Day: Live...

Mack Avenue Records
2022

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Rock With Flip

Clef Records
2021

buy

Putumayo Presents...

Putumayo World Music
2021

buy

A Time for Love: The...

Mack Avenue Records
2021

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