Oscar Peterson

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At a Glance

Birthname: Oscar Emmanuel Peterson
Nationality: Canadian
Born: Aug 15 1925
Died: Dec 23 2007 (82 years old)


Biography

One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Oscar Peterson (b. 1925) is also quite possibly the most prolific. Ever since 1950, Peterson has recorded an enormous amount of music, and he has consistently amazed listeners with his brilliant playing.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Peterson started having classical piano lessons when he was six and his musical abilities were obvious from nearly the start. He won a talent contest when he was 14 and was soon starring on a weekly radio show. As a teenager he worked with Johnny Holmes's Orchestra in Montreal and during 1945-1949 he recorded 32 ... Read more

One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Oscar Peterson (b. 1925) is also quite possibly the most prolific. Ever since 1950, Peterson has recorded an enormous amount of music, and he has consistently amazed listeners with his brilliant playing.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Peterson started having classical piano lessons when he was six and his musical abilities were obvious from nearly the start. He won a talent contest when he was 14 and was soon starring on a weekly radio show. As a teenager he worked with Johnny Holmes's Orchestra in Montreal and during 1945-1949 he recorded 32 selections. At that early stage, Peterson's debt to Nat King Cole's piano style was obvious, as was his love of Teddy Wilson and boogie-woogie, and his technique was on the level of Art Tatum. Peterson could play 100 notes while other pianists played ten, and all of his notes fit. Very few jazz pianists were ever on his level.

Producer Norman Granz discovered Peterson in 1949 and brought him to the United States, presenting him as a surprise guest at a Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. Peterson was a hit from the start, dazzling audiences and his fellow musicians alike. He formed a duo with bassist Ray Brown that soon became the Oscar Peterson Trio, featuring guitarist Barney Kessel during 1952. Even at that early stage, Granz was recording the pianist constantly and the enormous Peterson discography was growing on a monthly basis.

The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis worked, toured, and recorded prolifically during 1953-1958, not just as a separate unit but behind major soloists (including Louis Armstrong and Lester Young) and at JATP concerts. Peterson, who had an early hit with his version of "Tenderly," became one of the most popular and famous of all jazz musicians. His success continued unabated when Ellis left the group and was succeeded by drummer Ed Thigpen. Unlike most jazz musicians by the 1960s, Oscar Peterson (like Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, and George Shearing) was known to the general public.

The Peterson-Brown-Thigpen lineup stayed together until 1965, with Brown and Thigpen's spots eventually taken over by bassists Sam Jones and George Mraz, and drummers Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham, and Ray Price.

When Norman Granz formed the Pablo label in 1972, Oscar Peterson was one of his first artists. During the next 14 years, Peterson appeared on a countless number of recordings for Granz including full-length duet albums with five trumpeters (Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis), encounters with guitarist Joe Pass, trio dates with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, five projects with fellow pianist Count Basie, sets on which he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, jams with many different all-star groups, and even an exploration of the music from Porgy And Bess played on clavichord. Peterson excelled in every setting.

It would take many pages to list all of Oscar Peterson's recordings for the Pablo label, but it is easy to recommend the four-CD box Dimensions: A Compendium of the Pablo Years as a good place to start. It includes some of his appearances for Norman Granz in the 1950s and contains a strong cross-section of his many different sessions from the 1970s and '80s. Among the most outstanding of his Pablo releases are History of an Artist, vol. 1, The Trio, Oscar Peterson & Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass à la Salle Pleyel, and Oscar Peterson with Harry Edison & Eddie Vinson, but each fan will have his or her favorites. There are many to choose from and all showcase the pianist's artistry and brilliant technique.

After Norman Granz retired, Peterson continued working and had a reunion with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown in 1990. A stroke put him out of action for a time but today Oscar Peterson still tours the world, appearing before his fans and showing that, at his best, he can out swing everyone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Oscar Peterson (b. 1925) is also quite possibly the most prolific. Ever since 1950, Peterson has recorded an enormous amount of music, and he has consistently amazed listeners with his brilliant playing.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Peterson started having classical piano lessons when he was six and his musical abilities were obvious from nearly the start. He won a talent contest when he was 14 and was soon starring on a weekly radio show. As a teenager he worked with Johnny Holmes's Orchestra in Montreal and during 1945-1949 he recorded 32 selections. At that early stage, Peterson's debt to Nat King Cole's piano style was obvious, as was his love of Teddy Wilson and boogie-woogie, and his technique was on the level of Art Tatum. Peterson could play 100 notes while other pianists played ten, and all of his notes fit. Very few jazz pianists were ever on his level.

Producer Norman Granz discovered Peterson in 1949 and brought him to the United States, presenting him as a surprise guest at a Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. Peterson was a hit from the start, dazzling audiences and his fellow musicians alike. He formed a duo with bassist Ray Brown that soon became the Oscar Peterson Trio, featuring guitarist Barney Kessel during 1952. Even at that early stage, Granz was recording the pianist constantly and the enormous Peterson discography was growing on a monthly basis.

The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis worked, toured, and recorded prolifically during 1953-1958, not just as a separate unit but behind major soloists (including Louis Armstrong and Lester Young) and at JATP concerts. Peterson, who had an early hit with his version of "Tenderly," became one of the most popular and famous of all jazz musicians. His success continued unabated when Ellis left the group and was succeeded by drummer Ed Thigpen. Unlike most jazz musicians by the 1960s, Oscar Peterson (like Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, and George Shearing) was known to the general public.

The Peterson-Brown-Thigpen lineup stayed together until 1965, with Brown and Thigpen's spots eventually taken over by bassists Sam Jones and George Mraz, and drummers Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham, and Ray Price.

When Norman Granz formed the Pablo label in 1972, Oscar Peterson was one of his first artists. During the next 14 years, Peterson appeared on a countless number of recordings for Granz including full-length duet albums with five trumpeters (Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis), encounters with guitarist Joe Pass, trio dates with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, five projects with fellow pianist Count Basie, sets on which he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, jams with many different all-star groups, and even an exploration of the music from Porgy And Bess played on clavichord. Peterson excelled in every setting.

It would take many pages to list all of Oscar Peterson's recordings for the Pablo label, but it is easy to recommend the four-CD box Dimensions: A Compendium of the Pablo Years as a good place to start. It includes some of his appearances for Norman Granz in the 1950s and contains a strong cross-section of his many different sessions from the 1970s and '80s. Among the most outstanding of his Pablo releases are History of an Artist, vol. 1, The Trio, Oscar Peterson & Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass à la Salle Pleyel, and Oscar Peterson with Harry Edison & Eddie Vinson, but each fan will have his or her favorites. There are many to choose from and all showcase the pianist's artistry and brilliant technique.

After Norman Granz retired, Peterson continued working and had a reunion with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown in 1990. A stroke put him out of action for a time but today Oscar Peterson still tours the world, appearing before his fans and showing that, at his best, he can out swing everyone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Oscar Peterson (b. 1925) is also quite possibly the most prolific. Ever since 1950, Peterson has recorded an enormous amount of music, and he has consistently amazed listeners with his brilliant playing.

Born in Montreal, Canada, Peterson started having classical piano lessons when he was six and his musical abilities were obvious from nearly the start. He won a talent contest when he was 14 and was soon starring on a weekly radio show. As a teenager he worked with Johnny Holmes's Orchestra in Montreal and during 1945-1949 he recorded 32 selections. At that early stage, Peterson's debt to Nat King Cole's piano style was obvious, as was his love of Teddy Wilson and boogie-woogie, and his technique was on the level of Art Tatum. Peterson could play 100 notes while other pianists played ten, and all of his notes fit. Very few jazz pianists were ever on his level.

Producer Norman Granz discovered Peterson in 1949 and brought him to the United States, presenting him as a surprise guest at a Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. Peterson was a hit from the start, dazzling audiences and his fellow musicians alike. He formed a duo with bassist Ray Brown that soon became the Oscar Peterson Trio, featuring guitarist Barney Kessel during 1952. Even at that early stage, Granz was recording the pianist constantly and the enormous Peterson discography was growing on a monthly basis.

The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis worked, toured, and recorded prolifically during 1953-1958, not just as a separate unit but behind major soloists (including Louis Armstrong and Lester Young) and at JATP concerts. Peterson, who had an early hit with his version of "Tenderly," became one of the most popular and famous of all jazz musicians. His success continued unabated when Ellis left the group and was succeeded by drummer Ed Thigpen. Unlike most jazz musicians by the 1960s, Oscar Peterson (like Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, and George Shearing) was known to the general public.

The Peterson-Brown-Thigpen lineup stayed together until 1965, with Brown and Thigpen's spots eventually taken over by bassists Sam Jones and George Mraz, and drummers Louis Hayes, Bobby Durham, and Ray Price.

When Norman Granz formed the Pablo label in 1972, Oscar Peterson was one of his first artists. During the next 14 years, Peterson appeared on a countless number of recordings for Granz including full-length duet albums with five trumpeters (Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis), encounters with guitarist Joe Pass, trio dates with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, five projects with fellow pianist Count Basie, sets on which he accompanied Ella Fitzgerald, jams with many different all-star groups, and even an exploration of the music from Porgy And Bess played on clavichord. Peterson excelled in every setting.

It would take many pages to list all of Oscar Peterson's recordings for the Pablo label, but it is easy to recommend the four-CD box Dimensions: A Compendium of the Pablo Years as a good place to start. It includes some of his appearances for Norman Granz in the 1950s and contains a strong cross-section of his many different sessions from the 1970s and '80s. Among the most outstanding of his Pablo releases are History of an Artist, vol. 1, The Trio, Oscar Peterson & Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass à la Salle Pleyel, and Oscar Peterson with Harry Edison & Eddie Vinson, but each fan will have his or her favorites. There are many to choose from and all showcase the pianist's artistry and brilliant technique.

After Norman Granz retired, Peterson continued working and had a reunion with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown in 1990. A stroke put him out of action for a time but today Oscar Peterson still tours the world, appearing before his fans and showing that, at his best, he can out swing everyone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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