Monday, December 24, 2007
RIP Oscar Peterson
The CBC reports that all time jazz great Oscar Peterson died today at age 82. He was born Aug. 15, 1925 in Montreal. He studied piano as a child and won a CBC talent contest at age 15. The key event in Oscar Peterson's life was in 1949. Jazz promoter Norman Granz was in a taxi to catch a flight from New York. He heard Oscar Peterson on a live broadcast and ordered the driver to go to the club. Granz signed Peterson to Verve Records and Peterson recorded for Granz for most of his career. Oscar Peterson moved to Toronto in 1958 and I knew his son Norm in high school. Over the years Peterson has been one of the most popular pianists with jazz fans. He has also worked on orchestral pieces and films. Peterson suffered a stroke in 1993 which affected his left hand. He stopped playing for a couple of years but then came back and continued to tour until his health failed in recent years. Canada Post issued an Oscar Peterson postage stamp in honour of his 80th birthday in 2005. He also has seven Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian award in Canada. RIP Oscar Peterson. Here's Oscar Peterson performing A Gal In Calico with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass in 1958.