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May 11, 2007

Oscar Peterson Honoured at Carnegie Hall

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian jazz music news


Oscar Peterson Tribute
Friday, June 8
Carnegie Hall

“The Master of Swing” Honoured at Carnegie Hall, June 8

Oscar Peterson returns to Carnegie Hall on Friday, June 8 for a tribute in his honour as “The Master of Swing”. The first American tribute to the 82 year-old music legend will feature an all-star roster of leading jazz musicians. Oscar Peterson’s life and career is considered by many the creation of the footprint of mainstream jazz, with his performance, composition and recording credits filling pages of music history books.

Slated to appear at the event are Peterson’s favourite pianist Hank Jones, long-time friend and master trumpeter Clark Terry, piano master Dr. Billy Taylor, vocal star Dee Dee Bridgewater (paying tribute to Ella and more), bassist Christian McBride (a “young Ray Brown”), popular pianist Mulgrew Miller, guitar virtuoso Russell Malone, top modern drummer Lewis Nash, tenor titan Houston Person, friend and veteran tenor Jimmy Heath, another Oscar favorite pianist Marian McPartland, admirer Paquito D’Rivera, fellow Canadian pianist Renee Rosnes, Nat’s brother Freddie Cole, new vocal sensation Roberta Gambarini, singular bassist David Finck, the young piano whiz Eldar, upcoming vocalist Hilary Kole, top Grappelli style violinist Florin Niculescu, cellist Broislav Strulev, and music director/pianist Roger Kellaway. There will be many surprises as well as a performance of Oscar’s first major composition, “Canadiana Suite.”

Presenting the Oscar Peterson Tribute at Carnegie Hall is poetic in bringing the musician’s career full circle, for the venerable theatre is where Peterson first rose to fame in the late 40’s and early 50’s as part of Norman Granz’ Jazz at the Philharmonic.

Highly influenced by the great Art Tatum, Peterson also cites his sister Daisy as his greatest teacher. The Montreal-born, Toronto resident is perhaps best-known for his trio sound, leading iconic groups featuring Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen, as well as his drumless formats with Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, and Joe Pass. Over the years he featured such notable soloists as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Benny Carter, and Milt Jackson. In recent years he more often opts to perform in quartet settings, and profiles such rising stars as Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore. With a discography that numbers in the hundreds, Oscar Peterson has recorded for Pablo, Verve, and Telarc, among others.

A prolific composer, Peterson has gained international acclaim for his works including Canadiana Suite (1963), the African Suite, Hallelujah Time, Blues for Big Scotia, Blues for Smedley, The Smudge, Bossa Beguine, Love Ballad, and the recent Trail of Dreams suite. His Hymn to Freedom was one of the crusade hymns of the Civil Rights Movement of the National Film Board, the BBC, and other film and television projects. He has also composed the film scores for several films, including The Silent Partner, which won a Canadian Film Award in 1978.

Despite suffering a stroke over a decade ago, Oscar Peterson continues to selectively perform at Canadian and European jazz festivals each year, and tours internationally, visiting Japan in 2003 and touring the UK in 2006, as well as infrequent concert appearances in the US. Oscar Peterson released his autobiography and accompanying CD, A Jazz Odyssey in 2002, and maintains an online journal of his impressions of music and life on his website.

Dr. Peterson is committed to jazz education and is a great supporter of up-and-coming talent, most notably promoting the career of pianist Benny Green.

Among a long list of awards garnered throughout his career, Oscar Peterson has received the Order of Canada (1972), the Glenn Gould International Prize (1993), 7 Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Grammy (1997), the President’s Award of the International Association for Jazz Education (2003), the Hall of Fame Award from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (2004), and BBC Radio’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2005). In 2005, Peterson became the first living individual (other than a reigning monarch) honored with a Canadian postal stamp.

for more information visit www.oscarpeterson.com

Friday, June 8
Oscar Peterson Tribute “The Master of Swing”
Carnegie Hall

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