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Oscar Peterson was one of the greats

September 30, 2016 5:34 A.M.
Oscar Peterson plays C Jam Blues. (Screengrab)

SINCE THIS this will be the last RAATJ, I would like to close with one of my favourites, Oscar Peterson.  I have never liked the phrase “the greatest” of anything.  It is a purely subjective thing, usually they are all great and it’s a matter of personal taste.  However, when it comes to jazz piano players, I think they all have to line up behind Oscar Peterson.  Just a personal opinion, I know, but this guy could do everything and usually just a bit better than anyone else.

There is so much material to choose from it’s hard to know where to start.  Try this; go to his treatment of an old one, C Jam Blues, a very simple melody, until Oscar gets hold of it.                                                       

Then go to Boogie Blues Etude, it’s a wonder that the piano doesn’t catch fire! 

That should whet your appetite, there are countless albums from which to choose.  A few of my favourites are, A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra, the Paris Concert and Oscar with Count Basie and Joe Pas.  Oscar played with many of the greats, or more correctly, many of the greats played with Oscar.  Just too many to mention, but they’re all on youtube music.  Oscar was a Canadian boy from Montreal, his biography is very interesting and will give you an excellent insight into what made him great (mostly hard work).

I feel very fortunate to have seen him and his original trio in person, in a small venue.  It is an experience I will never forget.

He left us in 2007 and gave us with a legacy that will last forever.  Thankfully there are literally thousands of recordings for us to enjoy.

RIP Oscar and thank you.

Ken McClelland says:
September 30, 2016 10:58pm

Thanks Claude, always a pleasure bumping into you. Saw Oscar solo at the Orpheum in about 1980, an unforgettable evening, just him and a Bosendorfer concert grand piano for a couple of hours of pure ecstasy.


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Stewart Duncan says:
September 30, 2016 05:10pm

Thanks Claude for playing such a big role in establishing News Kamloops. It was a good effort against the odds and it took balls to do it.
Sorry to see it go. All the best with your next venture.
And as for Mr. Oscar Peterson, yes -- he was the best.


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