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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 Ørsted 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
|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|
Tours & Concerts
There are no current tour and concert schedules for Oscar Peterson.
There are no announcements as of this time
March 1, 1950
August 1, 1950
February 26, 1952
November 20, 1958
May 18, 1959
December 1, 1961
December 16, 1962
August 17, 1964
September 9, 1964
October 28, 1965
April 1, 1968
Compilations & Live Releases
|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|
|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|
|1961||London House Sessions||Polygram|
|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|
|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|
|1994||Verve Jazz Masters 16||Verve|
|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||In A Romantic Mood||Import|
|1999||Trio: Live in Chicago||Universal|
|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||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|
|2002||Oscar Peterson Trio||Laserlight|
|2000||A Jazz Odyssey||Verve|
|2002||Complete RCA Recordings||Jazz Factory|
|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||Swinging on A Star||Wesgram|
|2003||Vancouver 1958||Just A Memory|
|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||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||The Dazzling Oscar Peterson||Primo|
|2007||Date With Oscar||TBC|
- Oscar is a member of the Order of Ontario, a Chevalier of the Ordre du Québec.
- 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.