Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)
Christened the “Maharaja of the Keyboard” by Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson was one of the greats of Jazz. He was admired and respected by Ray Charles, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and other Jazz royalty as the top “piano player” in the business. Oscar passed away on December 23rd at the age of 82 after suffering a stroke nearly fifteen years ago. He eventually fought the paralysis of his left side to play again up until a severe decline in his health this year.
A Montreal native, Peterson created the Oscar Peterson Trio in the early ’50, consisting of himself, Ray Brown (eventual husband of Ella Fitzgerald), and Charlie Smith. The players in the trio changed over the years with several being white. The desegregated trios caused quite a stir in the racially charged times, but Oscar proved that music can cross any barriers.
Peterson is a member of the International Jazz Hall of Fame and in 1997, was presented with a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — jazz pianist ever.
News Report of his death:
Live at Newport
Sweet Lorraine, with Coleman Hawkins & Nat “King” Cole
An Intimate Evening with Oscar
Duel with Herbie Hancock
It Don’t Mean a Thing with Ella Fitzgerald