Oscar Peterson

From WikiMusicGuide, the free music guide. Your music wiki.

Jump to: navigation, search
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson is considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of all time. Most people admire him and honor him as being one of the best Jazz pianists of all time for his speed, dexterity, and ability to swing at any tempo. His work has earned him seven Grammy awards over the years and he was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1978. One of his solo single is "Canadian Suite".



Oscar Peterson or Oscar Emmanuel Peterson in real life was born on August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec. His father Daniel Peterson was a Canadian National railroad porter, born in the Virgin Islands, who loved classical music and jazz. His mother, Kathleen Olivia John Peterson, is a domestic worker. Daniel was an avid musician and insisted that all five of his children studied music. Oscar Peter began his musical education on trumpet but switched to piano at 5 after developing tuberculosis. In his childhood, most of his influence was in classical music and his teachers were all of clasical music background. His father wanted Oscar to become a great classical pianist, but Oscars desire was in Jazz.

While Oscar's lessons started when he was quite young, it was in high school that people began to pay attention. In his school, he played in a band with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and said he liked playing the baby grand piano during lunch hours because it was "the best way to have a bunch of girls come down. Oscar studied classical music with Paul de Marky, a Hungarian-born teacher who had studied with an apprentice of the nineteenth-century virtuoso Franz Liszt.

His first break came at just 14 years of age when he won a national amateur talent contest organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. . After that victory, he dropped out of school and became a professional pianist working for a weekly program at Montreal radio station, CKAC and playing at hotels and music halls. By time he was 20 he was being heard nationally on CBC radio.

In 1942 he was performing with one of Canada's leading big bands, the Johnny Holmes Orchestra. In 1944, he made his recording debut with boogie-woogie versions of "I Got Rhythm" and "The Sheik of Araby," and he soon began accumulating job offers from U.S. big band leaders including Count Basie and Jimmie Lunceford. By late 1947 Oscar was leading a trio at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal.

It was somewhere during 1948 that Oscar came to the attention of the legendary National Film Board producer and director, Norman Granz. Norman took Oscar to New York to play as a surprise guest at the Carnegie Hall performance of his Jazz at the Philharmonic. Oscar came up from the audience that night and played a duo with bassist Ray Brown which thrilled the audience and critics alike.

In September of 1949, Oscar was ready for a quite remarkable debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. From that moment on, he became a force to be reckoned with and his fame grew around the world. Soon after his appearance at Carnegie Hall, Oscar joined the Jazz at the Philharmonic and began touring North America with the group.

Oscar formed a trio in 1953 with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown. Throughout his career Oscar thrived in the trio format. He had perhaps his longest lasting musical relationship with bassist Ray Brown. They worked incredibly hard and became the one of the best jazz trios in the world. Art Tatum soon met his idol while playing at a club in Washington DC. Oscar and Art soon became close freinds and played for each other on many occasions.

Oscar was sometimes criticized for following too closely in the tradition of Art Tatum, who died in 1956. However he showed far more subtlety as an accompanist to singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday as well as horn players like "Louis Armstrong" and "Dizzy Gillespie". In 1956 the trio made one of Peterson's bestselling recordings, At the Stratford Shakespearean Festival. Ellis left the band in 1958 and was replaced by drummer Ed Thigpen.

Oscar took his love for Jazz and found a way to support it through the establishment of the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto in 1960. Unfortunately, this school lasted for only three years. During 1962 Oscar and the trio had an amazing year that resulted in the production of seven studio and four live albums within the year.

In the mid-1960s, the Oscar-Ray-Ed trio broke apart. He remained the star attraction in later trio incarnations. In the late 1960s he began recording for MPS, and he made the first of many recordings as a soloist in 1968. Many Oscar dates in the 1970's featured him playing solo, at the peak of his powers.

Oscar's first major composition ,"Canadiana Suite", was released in 1964. In the 1970s Oscar formed another landmark trio with virtuoso guitarist "Joe Pass" and "Niels-Henning ├śrsted Pedersen" on bass and has been considered one of the highest standards in the genre. Oscar has remained a devoted Canadian. He stayed in Montreal until 1958 and then he moved to Toronto where he still makes his home.

When director Herbert Ross decided to make a film version of the Woody Allen play, Play It Again, Sam in 1972, Oscar Peterson's composition "Blues for Allan Felix" was used in the soundtrack. His contribution to Canada was first recognized by the government when he was made an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1973.

He composed for film and hosted several television shows about jazz, including one for the British Broadcasting Corp. in 1974 called "Oscar Peterson's Piano Party." He won his first Grammy, in 1974, for a recording with Joe and Orsted called "The Trio."

He formed a piano duet with "Herbie Hancock" in the early 1980s but later slimmed down to a solo show. He built a recording studio in his home so that he could experiment with electronic keyboard and sound equipment. He reunited with Ellis and Brown in 1990, recording four CDs over two days.

In 1993, Oscar suffered a serious stroke that weakened his left side and sidelined him for two years. He underwent a year of physical therapy before launching his career again on the recording and concert circuit. In 1997 he received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award, showcasing that he has really become one of the greatest Jazz Pianists of all time.

In March of 2001, Oscar was one of the first two inductees into the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame. In 2004 the City of Toronto named the courtyard of the Toronto-Dominion Centre Oscar Peterson Square. In 2005, he celebrated his 80th birthday at the HMV flagship store in Toronto, where a crowd of about 200 gathered to celebrate with him. Oscar Peterson died of kidney failure on December 23, 2007 four months after his 82nd birthday. at his home in Mississauga.

Awards & Certifications

Year Award Category
1974 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Performance by A Group
1977 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist for "The Giants"
1978 Genie Award Best Film Score for "The Silent Partner"
1978 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Soloist for "Montreaux' 77"
1979 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Soloist
1984 Harry Jerome Awards Award of Merit
1990 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Soloist
1991 Grammy Awards Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Group
1991 Toronto Arts Award Lifetime Achievement Award
1995 Bern International Jazz Festival Three Key Award
1997 Grammy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award

Chart Toppers


Tours & Concerts

There are no current tour and concert schedules for Oscar Peterson.


There are no announcements as of this time




Compilations & Live Releases

Date Title Label
1945 I Got Rhythm RCA
1945 The Complete Young Oscar Peterson RCA
1945 This is Oscar Peterson Victor
1947 Rockin' in Rhythm RCA
1950 Oscar Peterson at Carnegie Hall Mercury
1952 The Gershwin Songbooks Verve
1952 Jazz at The Philarmonic Verve
1952 Oscar Person Trio at JATP Verve
1952 The Song is You Verve
1952 Recital by Oscar Peterson Clef
1952 Compact Jazz: Oscar Peterson Clef
1953 Oscar's Verve
1955 Jam Sessions Moon
1955 At Zardi's Pablo
1956 Oscar Peterson Trio at The Stratford Shakesperian Festival Verve
1957 The Newport Years Verve
1957 At the Concertgebouw Verve
1958 Oscar Peterson Plays My Fair Lady Verve
1959 Oscar Peterson Plays The Harold Arlen Songbook Verve
1959 Affinity Verve
1959 Silver Collection Verve
1961 London House Sessions Polygram
1961 The Trio Verve
1962 Live at The London House Verve
1963 Exclusive For My Friends Island
1964 The Ljubljana Concert Jazz Life
1964 Live in Tokyo Pablo
1964 Compact Jazz: Oscar Peterson Pablo
1965 The Canadian Concert of Oscar Peterson Can-Am
1965 Great Pianist of Our Time Camden
1972 History of An Artist Pablo
1974 In Russia Pablo
1975 Montreux Pablo
1977 Montreux' 77 Original Jazz Classics
1978 The Paris Concert Pablo
1978 The London Concert Pablo
1979 Skol Original Jazz Classics
1979 Digital at Montreux Pablo
1982 The Oscar Peterson Big 4 in Japan Pablo
1988 Very Tall Band Telarc
1990 Encore at The Blue Note Telarc
1990 Saturday Night at The Blue Note Telarc
1990 Live at Westwood, L.A Pablo
1990 Peterson and Terry OJC
1991 The Will To Swing Verve
1992 In Concert Sound Solutions
1992 1953 Live Jazz Band
1992 Live and Its Best SND
1992 The Essential Oscar Peterson Verve
1993 Three Originals Polygram
1994 Verve Jazz Masters 16 Verve
1994 Vienna Concert Philogy
1994 All of Me Jazz World
1994 Love For Sale Jazz World
1994 Fallin in Love With Oscar Jazz Door
1995 An Oscar Peterson Christmas Telarc
1996 Like Someone in Love Jazz Hour
1996 Oscar in Paris Telarc
1997 Trop + One PSM
1997 Best of Oscar Peterson Gut Bounce
1997 La Salle Pleyel Pablo
1997 Swinging Cooperation Motor Music
1997 The First Recordings Indigo
1998 Ultimate Oscar Peterson Verve
1998 Triple Play Telarc
1998 In A Romantic Mood Import
1999 Trio: Live in Chicago Universal
1999 Planet Jazz Denwa
1999 Summer Night in Munich Telarc
1999 Paris Jazz Concert Malaco Jazz
1999 Oscar's Boogie Jazz Hour
2000 Les Incotournables Wea International
2000 My Personal Choice Universal Jazz
2000 Quartet M10
2000 Live in Paris Irema
2000 Live at The Barbican:London BBC
2000 75th Birthday Celebration Verve
2000 Best of Jazz Piano Universal
2000 Indispensable RCA Jazz BMG
2000 Most Famous Hits Arcade
2001 Jazz in Paris Verve
2001 The Composer Pablo
2001 Oscar's Ballads Telarc
2002 Oscar Peterson Trio Laserlight
2000 A Jazz Odyssey Verve
2002 Complete RCA Recordings Jazz Factory
2002 Solo Pablo
2002 Live at The La Salle Playel Laserlight Digital
2002 My First Jazz Universal
2002 Fascinating Rhythm Past Perfect
2003 Oscar Peterson Solo JVC Victor
2003 Portrait Blue Classic
2003 Swinging on A Star Wesgram
2003 Vancouver 1958 Just A Memory
2003 Olympia Delta
2003 The Piano Player Pack
2004 Canadian Giant Saga Jazz
2004 The Song is You Back Up
2004 A Night in Vienna Verve
2004 Live at The Blue Note Telarc
2005 Cheek to Cheek Membran
2005 Somebody Loves Me Universal
2005 Classic Jazz Archive Classic Jazz Archive
2005 Piano Supreme Bud Music
2005 Debut Proper
2005 Jazz Biography Series United Multi Consign
2005 Piano Power Proper Box
2005 Songbooks Etcetera Avid UK
2005 The Great American Songbook Back Uo
2006 Fly Me To The Moon Verve
2007 Ad Lib Blues Back Up
2007 Mastercuts Mastercuts
2007 The Dazzling Oscar Peterson Primo
2007 Date With Oscar TBC

Other artists

Similar artists



  • [Nat King Cole]]


  • Oscar is a member of the Order of Ontario, a Chevalier of the Ordre du Qu├ębec.
  • He recorded more than 200 albums and won eight Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement in 1997.
  • He was awarded the O.C. (Officer of the Order of Canada) on June 23, 1972 and the C.C. (Companion of the Order of Canada) on June 25, 1984 for his services to music.


External Links

Personal tools