Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oscar Peterson: In Memoriam

Enough cannot be said about Canadian jazz pianist and composer Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007). He was called the "Maharajah of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, and was therefore a member of Jazz royalty.

Heavily influenced by Art Tatum in his earlier stage he progressively established his unique, inimitable style. Above all, Oscar Peterson delivered . Having released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honors over the course of his career, he is considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of all time who played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 65 years.

Here's a short glimpse at this man's genius performing in the Berlin Philarmonie on July 2, 1985. Oscar Peterson is accompanied by his long - standing associates, the great late Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen from Denmark on bass and the great British drummer Martin Drew, a long time member of the Ronnie Scott Quintet. First number is Oscar's Salute To Bach.

Next, comes Blues Etude

This is the magnificently delivered jazz standard Falling In Love With Love

This is Cakewalk, one of Peterson's most loved compositions

Another great tune, La Belle Province, a tribute to Québec and Montréal.

Nigerian Marketplace, another great Peterson composition and a glimpse to his African roots.

This is the lavish jazz standard Who Can I Turn To, performed equally lavishly

Likewise for Yours Is My Heart Alone

A medley, consisting of two venerable jazz standards, Victor Young's My Foolish Heart and Duke Ellington's Perdido

And a jaw - dropping rendition of Duke Ellington's Caravan brings this great set to an end. Rest in peace Oscar, you will never be forgotten.