Friday, August 04, 2006
Not sure what this is all about - read the full story at Surreality Times - but it looks as if legendary Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson is taking some stick at the moment. I can't comment on that, but it surely is a great excuse to take a look at the life of a Jazz stalwart.
Like so many Jazz musicians, Oscar showed musical ability from a young age, and had his future shaped by hardships. In Oscar's case it was tuberculosis that gave him the opportunity to develop his skills on the piano. After hearing Art Tatum (and nearly giving up, being so intimidated!) he was inspired to become a full-time jazz musician, and when he got in tow with legendary producer (and founder of Verve records) Norman Granz, he was set. Incredibly, Peterson is still going strong today despite being 80 years old and having suffered a stroke. Apparently he's still playing incredibly strongly too, as this review notes.
On record Oscar's melodic sense and lightness of touch are well known. He can come across as unassuming, but there's real passion in his playing that's unmstakable. Add to this a fearsome improvisational technique and a strong sense of rhythm and I think you've got all of the ingredients of a great pianist.