There are 32 comments, leave a comment.
r.i.p maestro
thank you oscar for all the great music and the inspiration!
oscar peterson, jazz pianist, is dead at 82
associated press

toronto (ap) -- oscar peterson, whose early talent and speedy fingers made him one of the world's best known jazz pianists, died at age 82.

his death was confirmed by neweduk funeral home in mississauga, the toronto suburb where peterson lived. the town's mayor, hazel mccallion, told the associated press that he died of kidney failure but that she did not know when. the hospital and police refused to comment. the canadian broadcasting corp. reported that he died on sunday.

''he's been going downhill in the last few months, slowing up,'' mccallion said, calling peterson a ''very close friend.''

during an illustrious career spanning seven decades, peterson played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including ella fitzgerald, count basie and dizzy gillespie. he is also remembered for touring in a trio with ray brown on bass and herb ellis on guitar in the 1950s.

peterson's impressive collection of awards include all of canada's highest honors, such as the order of canada, as well as a lifetime grammy (1997) and a spot in the international jazz hall of fame.

his growing stature was reflected in the admiration of his peers. duke ellington referred to him as ''maharajah of the keyboard,'' while count basie once said ''oscar peterson plays the best ivory box i've ever heard.''

in a statement, french president nicolas sarkozy 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 said. ''it is a great loss for us.''

jazz pianist marian mcpartland called peterson ''the finest technician that i have seen.''

mcpartland said she first met peterson when she and her husband, jazz cornetist jimmy mcpartland, opened for him at the colonial tavern in toronto in the 1940s.

''from that point on we became such goods friends, and he was always wonderful to me and i have always felt very close to him,'' she said. ''i played at his tribute concert at carnegie hall earlier this year and performed `tenderly,' which was always my favorite piece of his.''

born on aug. 15, 1925, in a poor neighborhood southwest of montreal, peterson obtained a passion for music from his father. daniel peterson, a railway porter and self-taught musician, bestowed his love of music to his five children, offering them a means to escape from poverty.

oscar peterson learned to play trumpet and piano at a young age, but after a bout with tuberculosis had to concentrate on the latter.

he became a teen sensation in his native canada, playing in dance bands and recording in the late 1930s and early 1940s. but he got his real break as a surprise guest at carnegie hall in 1949, after which he began touring the united states and europe.

he quickly made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso, often compared to piano great art tatum, his childhood idol, for his speed and technical skill.

he was also influenced by nat king cole, whose nat king cole trio album he considered ''a complete musical thesaurus for any aspiring jazz pianist.''

peterson never stopped calling canada home despite his growing international reputation. but at times he felt slighted here, where he was occasionally mistaken for a football player, standing at 6 foot 3 and more than 250 pounds.

in 2005 he became the first living person other than a reigning monarch to obtain a commemorative stamp in canada, where he is jazz royalty, with streets, squares, concert halls and schools named after him.

peterson suffered a stroke in 1993 that weakened his left hand, but not his passion or drive for music. within a year he was back on tour, recording ''side by side'' with itzhak perlman.

as he grew older, peterson kept playing and touring, despite worsening arthritis and difficulties walking.

''a jazz player is an instant composer,'' peterson once said in a cbc interview, while conceding jazz did not have the mass appeal of other musical genres. ''you have to think about it, it's an intellectual form,'' he said.

canadian jazz great oscar peterson dies
december 24, 2007 | 2:40 pm et
cbc news

the jazz odyssey is over for oscar peterson: the canadian known globally as one of the most spectacularly talented musicians ever to play jazz piano has died at age 82.

in august 2005, canada post paid tribute to oscar peterson on his 80th birthday by issuing a postage stamp in his august 2005, canada post paid tribute to oscar peterson on his 80th birthday by issuing a postage stamp in his honour.
(nathan denette/canadian press)

peterson died sunday night at his home in mississauga, ont., from kidney failure, cbc news has confirmed.

"the world has lost the world's greatest jazz player," hazel mccallion, mayor of mississauga and peterson's friend, told cbc news monday afternoon.

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.

over the years, his recording and performing partners included such stars as charlie parker, ella fitzgerald, dizzy gillespie, louis armstrong, duke ellington, count basie, nat king cole and stan getz.
continue article

some of peterson's most legendary works came after he teamed up to form the oscar peterson trio in 1953. the trio created such classic recordings as 1955's at zardis, 1956's at the stratford shakespearean festival, and 1957's at concertgebouw.

he formed another classic piano-guitar-bass trio in the 1970s with guitarist joe pass and danish-born bassist niels pedersen.
lived for music's 'moments of great beauty'

peterson reveled in the kind of improvisation he could perform with talented musicians, recalling in a 2005 interview how well he worked with his late friend pedersen.

"the minute we get to the sections where he's featured, i take no prisoners! i like to take liberties, and he's got to be right there to hear where i'm going. we still open doors in the improvisation for one another to develop."

he also loved the competitive nature of this kind of jazz and the unexpected pleasures that could emerge in live performances.

"there is always the chance for moments of great beauty to emerge," he said.

among the dozens of awards and acknowledgements over the decades, peterson racked up seven grammy awards, including the grammy for lifetime achievement in 1997; received an international jazz hall of fame award in the same year; and was named a companion of the order of canada, its highest level.

his autobiography, a jazz odyssey: the life of oscar peterson, was written in collaboration with jazz journalist richard palmer.

"he really put montreal on the map of jazz," tracy biddle, whose late father charles was a pioneering club owner in the city's jazz community and a close friend of peterson's, said in an interview in montreal.

"i believe that on a grander scale, the impact he had on the black community and on the whole musical community was huge.

"he broke out of canada. he's one of the first people. we talk of céline dion and shania twain and alanis morissette and bryan adams. oscar peterson did what they did years ago as a black person. so what he's done is incredible."
early success

born in montreal in aug. 15, 1925, peterson was the son of a canadian national railroad porter.

though he started playing piano at age five, taught by his sister daisy, peterson credited his introduction to jazz to his older brother fred, who died of tuberculosis at age 16.

oscar continued his studies under paul de marky, a hungarian-born teacher who had studied with the famous hungarian pianist and composer franz liszt.

peterson said he learned how to use a piano to full potential from de marky and from listening to jazz greats.

"i never tried to sound like a trumpet or a clarinet," he once said an interview with the wall street journal.

"i was taught to respect it for what it was: a piano. and it spoke with a certain voice. and that was what i was determined to bring forward."

at age 15, peterson won first prize in a cbc radio talent show and was invited to play weekly on the montreal station ckac.

he soon had other offers to play on radio. by 1942, peterson was performing with one of canada's leading big bands, the johnny holmes orchestra.

he came up against the colour bar early in his career, with some hotels threatening to prevent him from playing and radio hosts introducing him as "a coloured boy with amazing fingers."

about this time his father, daniel peterson, brought home a recording by art tatum, then considered the best jazz pianist of his day. peterson later recalled how tatum gave him a new pinnacle to aim for.

"of course i was just about flattened…i swear, i didn't play piano for two months afterward, i was so intimidated," peterson said.

later, tatum came to regard peterson as heir to his crown as the king of jazz pianists.
carnegie hall

in 1949, peterson got another big break. the story goes that jazz promoter norman granz was in a taxi on the way to the airport in montreal when he heard a live peterson broadcast on the radio, and insisted the driver turn around and drive him to the club where the broadcast originated.

granz signed peterson up for a gig at carnegie hall in new york with some of the biggest names in jazz.

according to a report in down beat magazine, at carnegie hall peterson "stopped the concert dead cold in its tracks."

granz became one of peterson's closest friends and his manager. peterson began to build international renown, touring in the 1950s with jazz at the philharmonic to japan, hong kong, australia and the philippines.
birth of a legendary trio

in 1953, peterson formed the oscar peterson trio, joining up with bassist ray brown, and then guitarist herb ellis. they became one of the hardest-working trios in jazz, touring the u.s. under ganz's management.

"when the group gets hot you take a lot of chances and pull a lot of things off when you play it live that you might not do before a microphone, " brown recalled in a 1975 interview with cbc radio.

"when you have a group that operates five days a week in nightclubs…you had to be on your toes. [oscar said] we want to be able to play any song and make it work."

peterson moved to toronto in 1958 and kept a base in canada throughout the rest of his career.

oscar peterson addresses the crowd during a tribute to prime minister jean chrétien at a liberal convention on nov. 13, 2003.oscar peterson addresses the crowd during a tribute to prime minister jean chrétien at a liberal convention on nov. 13, 2003.
(tom hanson/canadian press)

a year later, he and several other musicians founded the advanced school of contemporary music, a school to teach jazz, but it lasted only a few years.

peterson continued to perform throughout the world, even behind the iron curtain in ljubljana, then part of yugoslavia.

as a composer, his best-known work is likely 1964's canadiana suite, each track of which was inspired by a different region. peterson called it "my musical portrait of the canada i love."

he made the first of many solo recordings in the late 1960s and often played solo in the 1970s and 1980s. he also began voice recording in 1965 on with respect to nat.

he composed film and television scores, winning a genie film award for best film score in 1978, for the silent partner.

peterson built a recording studio in his mississauga, ont., home so that he could experiment with electronic keyboard and sound equipment.
the struggle to overcome a stroke

in 1993, while performing at the blue note club in new york, peterson noticed a numbness in his left hand, and doctors diagnosed a stroke.

peterson was depressed by the loss of ability and stopped playing for two years. "the first day i sat at the piano with my therapist, i had tears in my eyes," he told the minneapolis star tribune.

but he said fellow musicians encouraged him to continue playing, initially with the right hand only and eventually with a slightly disabled left hand. playing with a group was "the best therapy of all," he said.

he continued to travel and perform, still packing in the audiences. his 80th birthday in 2006 was celebrated with a concert featuring diana krall and a new postage stamp honouring him.

peterson has received numerous citations for best jazz pianist from contemporary keyboard and down beat; was named an officer of the order of arts and letters in france; and was named honorary chancellor at york university in toronto.

his life was showcased in two films, oscar peterson: music in the key of oscar in 1995 and oscar peterson: the life of a legend in 1996.

over the years, peterson has been a supporter of other canadian artists and music students, saying he admires the work of colleague oliver jones and appearing in 2006 at a school in mississauga named after him to hear a school concert.

"it's very moving to work with them and to play with them," he told cbc television at that appearance. "i want to say again i'm a softy for youngsters. i'm so glad to be here with them. "

peterson was married four times and had six children from his first and third marriages — lyn, sharon, gay, oscar jr., norman and joel — and one daughter, celine, with his fourth wife, kelly.

according to friends of the family, there will be a private funeral for peterson, with a public memorial service to be held in the new year.
'apart from perhaps [jazz pianist] art tatum, there has been no one in the history of jazz that has come close to his performance level and his dedication to the music.'
—composer and pianist joe sealy

'the world has lost the world's greatest jazz player.'
—mississauga, ont. mayor hazel mccallion

'[after his stroke] he came back and for the most part was playing with one hand.… what he was able to achieve, playing with half of what most other pianists had, he was still light years ahead of every one else.'
—jazz broadcaster ross porter

'i don't think we'll ever see another jazz musician get the amount of credit that he received over the years. he was a wonderful inspiration to myself and so many other young pianists.'
—canadian jazz pianist and longtime peterson friend oliver jones

'he broke out of canada. he's one of the first people. we talk of céline dion and shania twain and alanis morissette and bryan adams. oscar peterson did what they did years ago as a black person. so what he's done is incredible.'
—tracy biddle, daughter of montreal jazz pillar charlie biddle

'somebody once said that [franz] lizst conquered the piano and [frédéric] chopin seduced it. oscar is our lizst.'
—canadian jazz journalist, lyricist and peterson biographer gene lees

'i learned a lot from playing with him and it was great, what i would call on-the-job training … playing in a situation like that where you never know what's going to happen from one moment to the next.'
—jazz guitarist lorne lofsky
oscar peterson on youtube:



i feel so lucky to have seen him as often as i did.  the world is a poorer place for his loss.  we can all be thankful for his recorded legacy - he left us so much.

"the world has lost the world's greatest jazz player"

ok, after oscar peterson, who comes next in line? who's the next jazz piano giant that is still living?
hank jones(what a legend), barry harris, ahmad jamal, horace parlan, kenny barron are still alive
awsome doesn't begin to describe this pioneering talent.
thank the lord for sharing oscar with us for a little while.
i had the opportunity to see this giant at the montreal jazz festival.

to see a living legend performing live is a gift.

rest in peace, oscar...and thank you!
thank you oscar for bringing your music to us. the world will forever cherish all of it. may you rest peacefully. you deserve it.
i've tried to post something several times today, but cannot think of the right words.  i think jmkarns said what i would have said.  

here's an old link i saved a while back - i might have gotten here somewhere
the greatest musician in history.  that's is what he is for me.  ever since the first time i heard him he has inspired every single note i play on the piano, regardless of the genre.  he embodied everything in music that came before him, probably the greatest eclectic since bach.  as diz said of louis can be said for me, "no him, no me."  thank you, god, for him.  my life is better for him.
i'm very sad...

just got 2 more of his dvd's for christmas.....
he's lucky to have died on the night before christmas.
bless you, oscar, and thank you for bringing to the world your gift of music!
i wish he was here to see this christmas, just one more christmas with oscar would be great!
god bless oscar and thanks for such beautiful music
it had to happen eventually, as it will to all of us, but that's the beauty of life.  we are only here for a little while so we need to do the best we can while we have time.

oscar peterson did that, don't you think?  i remember listening to op for the very first time in 1985. i only played classical at the time. i heard op and like so many pianists and people was not only blown away by what i heard, but also inspired to figure out what i heard.  i had no idea you could do that sort of stuff on a piano.

oscar peterson was at the very beginning of my jazz piano journey and helped define the heights a person could get to.

i'm not sad that op is dead, we all die, i'm happy that he offered us so much of himself in his music.  he's not really dead, just not making recordings for us any longer.  he will live forever, oscar is as close to being immortal as a person can get.

some of my favorite op recordings:

oscar peterson and dizzy gillespie, duo
oscar peterson live at blue note in japan with herb ellis
oscar peterson plus one clark terry

of course there are tons of others, but those three really stick out in my mind as op recordings that helped define my own playing.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
oscar peterson was the main inspiration in the development of my jazz style, and i was devastated to hear this news.  but, on the bright side, i'm sure he's having a great time right now jamming and recording duets with art tatum.
i remember when i was a 'classical only' person, and i didn't believe that he was improvising those solo's!  i truly thought that he had practiced each solo and was playing it as if he was reading it like you would in a classical recital...  r.i.p oscar.
well, a large part of his vocabulary in his solos and the dazzling patterns and arpeggios were pre-practiced.
of course, but its still pretty clever to put them all to use and to have so many tricks up your sleeve!!
night train changed the lives of my friend and i.  it convinced him (a longtime guitarist) to drop the guitar and start playing drums because he was not going to find anyone else to play like ed thigpen.  it convinced me that playing in a swinging piano trio is the thing to do.  we have been dedicated to it seriously ever since.
my dad played me an oscar record when i was quite young.  it definitely changed my life.  i spend years emulating him.  his influence is ingrained in my playing.
- trying to emulate him :)
the cat played like he had three hands. watching him wipe the sweat off his brow so much with the towel, imagine, his mind must of been in overdrive improvizing those licks that fast. he gave it his all.  
amazing musician.
a dj put some op on while i was listening in my car today.  i think it was "what is this thing called love?"  anyway, without any introduction i just knew it was him.  not because i have listened to all of his works.  it's his identifiable sound.  
so  pianistic, so swinging.
i'm sorry to hear this news.  

i'm even sorrier not to have heard of this on my mainstream radio station.  

"night train" was a great album, not necessarily because of the conception, or the execution, but because of the combination of the above two with one of the perfect captures of a great piano sound in studio.

of course he pre-practiced his fast bits.  there's a very, very large line which stands between fast choruses and slow ones.  every single player, legit or jazz, who ever lived and who ever will have lived practiced fast lines, one hopes informed by the judicious evaluation of their slower lines, or else they didn't play them.

oscar peterson had fast, clean lines in his arsenal, and he played them according to his own inscrutable conception.  his compositions and arrangements are underappreciated.  love him or envy him, he played his carved-in-granite lines like he owned them, and he did.
Please sign in to post.

Jazz Piano Notebook Series
Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 1 - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 1 of this educational jazz piano book contains 15 jazz piano exercises, tricks, and other interesting jazz piano techniques, voicings, grooves, and ideas Scot Ranney enjoys playing.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version - videos

Scot Ranney's Jazz Piano Notebook, Volume 2 - jazz piano tricks of the trade you can use today

Volume 2 has 14 jazz piano exercises and tricks of the trade, and quite a bit of it is Calypso jazz piano related material, including some Monty Alexander and Michel Camilo style grooves. Jazz piano education is through the ears, but books like this can help.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 3 contains 12 jazz piano exercises and explorations by the acclaimed jazz piano educator, pianist, author, and recording artist Tim Richards.

Tim wrote the well known "Exploring Jazz Piano" and "Improvising Blues Piano" books and has several others to his name.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook - jazz piano tricks of the trade

Volume 4 is by Jeff Brent, a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and author of "Modalogy" and other acclaimed jazz theory and education books. In this book Jeff shares detailed analysis of transcriptions of live performances. He covers everything from the shape of the songs to the tricks and licks he uses in improvised lines to the ideas behind his lush chord voicings.

buy pdf version - buy coil binding version

Most Recent Discussions
Volume 5 of Scot Ranney's "Jazz Piano Notebook Series" is up and running!
How to Develop Your Improvisation from Beginner to Advanced
Big Chief
How to Play Bossa Nova
Best Pianos for Beginners
How to Reharmonise a song

Volume 5 of the "Jazz Piano Notebook Series" is Available! File Downloads News
One Hour of Relaxing Piano Music
Jeff Brent's Jazz Piano Notebook
Fundamentos Físicos del Sonido
Aprendiendo a tocar PIANO gratis con partitura

Top Sheetmusic Picks

Jazzy Christmas Arrangements
Cocktail Piano
Best Songs Ever, 6th Edition
Christmas Medley
Moana Songbook
Late Night Jazz Piano

Jazz piano education is cool.

be the main character in your own story

Rock on. Follow your passion.

Sign In

privacy policyterms of serviceabout • 50,656 messages 63,069 accounts 53,776 logins Copyright © 1995-2019 by Scot Ranney • website software and design by scot's scripts is For Sale - Serious Inquiries Only