Wednesday, December 26, 2007
oscar peterson 1925-2007

The very great great Canadian born Oscar Peterson, for me---one of the greatest Jazz Pianists of his generation or, for that matter, any generation, has died.....He was 'The Master'! He played with so much heart and extraordinary precision....his improvisational skills just took your breath away.....
I was lucky enough, through the largess of his long time manager Norman Granz, to see him in a small intimate outdoor concert in the South of France in the summer of 1969....Talk about sublime! I had been a big fan of his since 1960, and his recordings----well, I played them so much that they wore out and I had to replace them with new discs...! His virtuosity on the piano was more than was magical in every way and his musicianship---his understanding heart, (Oh My) and his amazing fingers---were top notch. No one could touch him, to my way of thinking. His recordings with Joe Pass, the great great guitarist represented a marriage of musicianship that was quite extraordinary......The truth is, all of his musical collaborators had 'special marriage' written all over them, as in the original Trio---Herb Ellis & Ray Brown. Norman Granz discovered Oscar Peterson around 1949 and managed every aspect of his career from that time until he, Granz, died, towards the end of 2001.....And a fantastic career it has been, even beyond his association with Norman Granz.....Then, in 1993, the unthinkable happened. Oscar Peterson, The Master, had a stroke which weakened his left hand considerably. But he returned to playing within two years and one would almost never have known that this master had had a stroke....As I said, sublime, sublime, sublime....(Oh dear is such a sad sad day, here in this last week of 2007.... Sad, for the music world and sad for all us who were touched by Peterson's musical genius. We and the music world have lost a true "Giant"!) (The above is a commemorative stamp which is a rare, almost unheard of honor, in Canada.....) Amazingly enough, after Peterson's 'recovery' from that stroke, his playing was pretty much as strong as ever, until these last few years....I guess today, on this deeply sad sad day, we should be grateful that we, the audience, had him in our lives for as long as we did.....there was no one quite like him. And thank God for recordings and DVD's, and for YouTube......
Here is a beautiful video of Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, and the great drummer Ed Thigpen playing something that is just called 'ballads' or 'love ballads'....It is, to me, an Elegy to this incredibly talented monumentally moving performer....The heartbreaking beauty of this brings me to tears......

Another amazingly beautiful video is this next one....Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass playing "My One And Only Love".....I don't know what year this is, but it is during the same "live" concert as the above video---maybe 1985?....(An aside: I met Joe Pass back in 1963 when he was at Synanon, in Santa Monica, CA. He was a recovering drug addict way back then, in this then amazing and unique place called was truly revolutionary at the time---Waaaay before The Betty Ford Center, or any other recovery-type places---Synanon was started and was run by recovering drug addicts specifically for other drug addicts trying to beat their addictions...

We had come out to Santa Monica to do one(1) performance of "Spoon River" before leaving for New York and Broadway....Joe Pass is the gentleman over on the far right in the first row in front of me....He certainly made quite a fantastic recovery, needless to say.....).

Here below is the very beautiful Oscar Peterson version of "My One And Only Love".....!

Farewell, dear Oscar Peterson....there was no one quite like you and we will not see your 'like', again.....This was what pure 'Jazz' was and is......He always established the 'tune' before taking off on his fantastic musical flights of fancy.....This, is actually real "music", people, not 'Your Beautiful', which is supposed to pass for "real" music these days....Pitiful, really....! This is the real deal.

So, here is one more example of what the late great Oscar Peterson was capable of creating, in a magnificent 'solo' performance of the classic "I Can't Get Started".....Just Oscar and The Piano. Oh, My!

More To Come......

Links to this post:


had this to say:

One of the best things about your blog is that you expose me to people that I feel like I should know. People who were very important yet I didn't know anything about them. What a good way to preserve their memory! This was a very touching post.

I hope you have enjoyed the holidays Naomi....any visits from the man in the red suit?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 8:17:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Sad news indeed. He lived in one of the 'burbs of Toronto.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 8:41:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

BTW, nice of you to post a tribute to him :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 8:42:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

That was a very nice and informative tribute to a great artist. I listened to each of the YouTube clips. The music was indeed very beautiful. I am at work and had it playing while I continued working. A co-worker popped her head in my office to listen for a minute "to the beautiful music." Thanks for your continued expansion of my horizons. There is so much out there that I'm unaware of, it's so nice to have someone like you, singing the praises and shining the way to artists worth a closer look.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 9:32:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Once again you have introduced me to a very talented someone I did not know before. I agree the beauty of the sound is almost heartbreaking and I love the way they filmed his reflection in the piano making the piece seem almost ethereal. Very touching.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 10:05:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Those were beautiful clips of him playing the piano. He truly was gifted. I had an aunt who played wonderfully and have always appreciated the gift in others. I had my piano tuned this last week, which it badly needed, and the tuner played one of his original jazz compositions for me before he left. It was so wonderful to hear my piano sound like that as I don't have that kind of gift. I buy piano CDs quite often but have to confess I had not heard of him when I read he had died. It was good to learn more about him and hear his music. I do love that kind of jazz, where the melody is not lost in the, as you put it, flights. Inspiring

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 3:16:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Lyn
had this to say:

I could view the videos but there was no sound and am truly disappointed. I have heard Oscar Peterson play before and know what a wonderful artist he is. I'll try again later.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 3:33:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a great loss...nd Yet again, you have put together such a lovely tribute for those who knew who he was and those who can discover him for themselves. As a Canadian I didn't even know he was on a stamp..
Learn something new every day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 5:13:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

A great tribute. My brother introduced me to Oscar Peterson way while back. At that time, it was not easy to find is albums in India. I still have his very old albums which I have burned on CDs.

It is always a pleasure to read your blog. Very glad I know you via Michele.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 7:11:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Libster
had this to say:

I was lucky enough to see Oscar Peterson play -
what a wonderful time just listening to someone so
great. Thank-you so much for such a lovely tribute.
It' a sad day indeed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 7:44:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I am immensely saddened that my country has lost an icon. Yet I derive comfort from the outpouring of affection and reverence for a man who gave back so much to every community he touched.

I also derive comfort from this post, Naomi. Like Mr. Peterson, you, too, give to your community, sharing the depth of caring that marks a truly great artist. Every time you pick up your figurative pen, you trace magic for those of us lucky enough to read you.

Mr. Peterson would no doubt have found that inspirational. As do I.

I'm thinking of you this holiday season, and would like to wish you health and strength in the coming year. The selfish me wants to ensure you're always able to help us see the world through your brilliant lens.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 7:48:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, my favorite music in all the world is jazz piano and there is no doubt that Oscar was at the top of the list (along with Ahmad Jamal). We have lost a great one.

Thanks for the visit. I was happy to learn that you could go out to Betty's for the holiday. We saw Lee M. in a commercial yesterday; she looked so pretty in blue!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 8:26:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi. Michele sent me this very early Thursday morning.

Although I can't say I knew much of Oscar Peterson before his death, I now know with certainty that I have listened to and enjoyed his music immensely over the years. My knowledge of Jazz in not as complete as it is of other genres, but my appreciation is. Therefore, I often don't know who I am listening to. Now, unfortunately, some of it I do.

I must say that I am again amazed at th depth of your experience and knowledge - personal knowledge - of so many in show business. I guess I should no longer be surprised, but it still blows me away. Excellent post, Naomi...

and I'll be emailing you about something else you touched on as well.

Happy New Year,


Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 2:35:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi, I am glad you had a wonderful Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful New Year, too!

Beautiful tribute and videos! I always love Oscar Peterson! Did you know that I have an old record in vinyl of him?

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 3:07:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a lovely Oscar meme and contribution Naomi - thanks for sharing all the history and the lovely music on these vids!

He was in Norway several times I think, especially on a quite famous yearly festival in the town of Molde.

I just love his music!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 5:13:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Nice Tribute, Naomi.....He sounds like a very talented man.

Did you watch the tributes at the Kennedy Center last night? They were honoring five wonderful people of film and music and I enjoyed it throughly....

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 8:26:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am beginning to think there is no one you didn't know or meet! :o)

I went thru a jazz period in my life and this was a name I remember! It's indeed sad how many greats in the creative industry we loose each year. Thankfully their talents are saved in movies and on tapes and dvds there to be discovered by generations to come!

I hope 2008 is a good one for you Naomi!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 9:13:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a fantastic pianist. That was such a nice tribute, Naomi. I'm sure it's people exactly like you that makes musicians exactly like him, love their job!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 2:08:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Beautifully written and informative as usual Naomi.

We've just got back from the Crazie party & I wanted to stop by and say thank you so much for your beautifula nd unexpected gift! Sorry I haven't been commenting as often of late - life's got very busy - but I do still pop by when possible:-)

Thank you so very much once again. I shall put it up at work so I can see some cheerful colours every day and remember how wopnderful the internet can be:-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 2:26:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Oh Dear,
I can't beleive this living musicality is now history. He was one of my fav's since I was 15. Both with his trio and also classical "big band".
Yeah, I was one of those rare kids that loved jazz, when others loved "The Beatles" - in the early 60'ies.

btw. I just woke up after nearly 2 days sleep. Weather has changed from strong cold and wonderful nature to strong wind, rain and darkness. We have only 6 hours of daylight, when Sunny, without the Sun, it's dark, dark and dark. Have a great impact of my body, greater than I do like...

But your post here did light me up.

--- of famous Jazz artists, I only learned to knew Dexter (G) and Sarah V (When they were in Copenhaguen in the 60'ies).

PS. I was able to post your fabulous calender - Anna is very excited - like me.


Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 3:14:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I had never heard of him before. Now that I've heard him play, I can agree with you about his skill. He played with precision, strength, and feeling all at once. It is really an honor that Canada made a stamp in his honor.
It is really amazing that he came back from a stroke and regained his ability to play. That is wonderful!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 5:24:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Yesterday, I listened to him all day long. Always a pleasure. I did not so much about him. Thanks for this post.
I am having my holidays and I am marking exam papers, hating the job. Bane of teaching.

You blog is one of the best I know. Our mutual friends keeps sendong me here and I love it!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:45:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I had never heard of him myself, but I watched the videos and he was indeed fantastic!!

I agree with what Carmi said about you!! Very much how I'm sure we all feel about your blog!!! xox

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 7:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for this post Naomi. yet again a lovely tribute. If only these people knew about you, your words are wonderful and you teach us something via your blog.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a relaxing one above all....

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 10:35:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for that great music - that's the type of music I really love. I will buy some of his CDs now. You were lucky to have met him, but then, you've met EVERYONE!

Friday, December 28, 2007 at 1:21:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

That was a beautiful tribute, Naomi. Peterson was most definately a true genius on the piano. And despite his fame, he lived in an ordinary suburb outside of Toronto (I always wondered why he moved away from Montreal).....

When my husband was very young, he met Oscar Peterson at a concert in our hometown. As a child, all he can remember was the size of this man's hands. I guess he had enormous hands which no doubt helped him play the piano so masterly.

We shall all mourn his loss.....and celebrate his life which will continue through the more than 200 albums he recorded. Heaven just became a more musical place to be.

ps. the movie Away From Her? it's most definately on my list to see this Christmas.....Directed by a young Canuck named Sarah Polley. She's in her early 20's!!! We've been watching her bloom since she was about 10 years old when she played in the series Road to Avonlea (of Anne of Green Gables fame). She is a brilliant talent. The male actor, Gordon Pinsent is a terrific actor too, but for some reason never moved much out of Canadian circles. He is well loved here. I hope you enjoy the movie. Let me know, and I will let you know.


Friday, December 28, 2007 at 5:13:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am very find of jazz, I could listen to it for hours.

Michele sent me.

Friday, December 28, 2007 at 3:23:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

A very nice tribute, Naomi.
I am so glad you do this type of thing, keeping the memories circulating.


Friday, December 28, 2007 at 7:07:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Randy - Las Vegas
had this to say:

Yes you are constantly amazing to all of us! Thanks for the music - I drank some wine and ate some Christmas cookies while I relaxed and listened to this great man. It's always fun to see what you will post next! Wonderful tribute for Oscar --

Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 11:07:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Michele sent me back, my dear :-)

My dad is a huge jazz fan and is also an admirer of Oscar Peterson.

Life is short, a well-spent life is one that is full and productive.
Mr Peterson definitely filled his life with beauty and music.

Thank you, Oscar - and thank you, Nay.


Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 3:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I was saddened to hear of Oscar Peterson's death some days ago. The news triggered memories for me and now this lovely tribute from you to the life of this superb jazz pianist. Thanks for including the links so I could once again enjoy seeing him play and hearing his music.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 7:54:00 AM PST 

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