Oscar Peterson: Beloved Canadian Jazzman
A week ago Oscar Peterson died, at age 82. He was a world renouned jazz pianist, one could argue the best ever. He is a Canadian, born in Montreal, and for many years a resident of my home town, Mississauga.
It took Canada a long time to fully embrace him and revere his great talent and acknowledge his love of Country and his contributions to the wider community. Canadians seem to be like this slow to embrace the great among us and only doing so after the rest of the World have done so.
In the last 20 years of his life Oscar Peterson received all the awards and honours Canada and Canadians can bestow upon a person.
This is a picture of the stamp the Government of Canada issued in honour of Oscar Peterson, he is the oly living person, other than royality, so honoured. But he was royalty in the Jazz community, called "the Maharaja of the keyboard." by Duke Ellington.
Oscar Peterson has left the World a wonderful legacy of his piano playing and music composition.
He will be particularly missed by the pupils of the Oscar Peterson Elementary School in Mississauga, with whom he seemed to have a special affection in the last years of his life.
One of the nice occasions this past week was to hear Diana Krall speak about her friend , Oscar.
Canada's lovely jazz singer got to know Oscar and became great friends.
Here are some web sites to visit to read, and hear, a little about the life of this remarkable man.
Wikipedia for an over view http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Peterson
An obituary in the Guardian http://music.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2232131,00.html
From the CBC Archives a revealing half hour interview with Peter Gzowski http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-74-391-2317/people/oscar_peterson/clip9
And for Youtube fans, Dueling pianos with Herbie Hancock http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IufLUxtDp_M&feature=related
The background music is one of Oscar Peterson pieces. For a treat find some of his music, among your own records or on the Internet and just listen.