RIP Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)

Well, we have one more influential musician to remember before the year ends. The great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson passed away on December 23:

Called the “Maharajah of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson is considered to have been one of the greatest piano players in the history of jazz. He played to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.

While Stockhausen (whom we remembered on his death two weeks ago) was an inspiration for his composition, electronic innovations, and ideas about music, Peterson was all about performance and technique, and joy of playing jazz at a high level. As a young jazz pianist, I used Oscar Peterson's piano solos as practice. In particular, I remember playing the minor bluesy Roundalay, which was my successful audition piece for All State Jazz in New York. Certainly, I could never even attempt to match the actual solos at full speed.

You can get a sense of the real thing from this video:

We close with these comments from the CBC:

Renowned for his speed and virtuosity as a pianist, Peterson ? who was born in Montreal and later made Toronto his home ? made hundreds of recordings in his career, even after a stroke in 1993 disabled his left hand…

…”The world has lost the world's greatest jazz player,” Hazel McCallion, mayor of Mississauga and Peterson's friend, told CBC News on Monday afternoon.

UPDATE: You can read his obituary from Mississauga.

5 thoughts on “RIP Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)

  1. Yes, it is very sad that Oscar Peterson has passed away. He was a pride and joy of the city of Mississauga, and truly a legend. He contributed more than his music. He was one of only two residents ever to receive the City of Mississauga's highest honour, the Civic Award of Merit, as well as a former chancellor of York University.He had to cancel a few concerts this year, including the Toronto Jazz Festival.It's a very sad day for his family, especially being in the holiday season. My thoughts are with them.

    Thank you, Amar and Luna, for more than just giving us a tiny fraction of what a great jazz pianist he was.

  2. dear amar,

    it's good to be nudged in the right direction by you, to remember and reflect when humankind suffers the loss of our artistic master.

    so many thanks.

    funny, i made the all-state orchestra when i was in 9th grade [flute, 3rd seat and way in over my head, drowning actually, under Golliwog's Cake-Walk by Claude Debussy. i had never heard of it and to this day cringe in shame when i hear it. i pretended to play. ha!]

    we hope you are doing well and that tonight finds you happily snuggled with your lunakitty.


  3. That is really nice post. I liked the video…. Thanks so that i can download the video so easily. Also thank u for the post.

  4. With great sorrow did we hear about his demise – what a wonderful musician!
    We wish you very happy holidays and a wonderful new year!
    Karl and the rest from The Cat Realm

Comments are closed.