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Oscar Peterson

 

 

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Oscar Peterson was born in Canada in 1925.  His technique is so fluent that he has drawn comparisons to Art Tatum.   He has also been called the Liszt of jazz pianist.  He was classically trained and his early influence was George Shering, Errol Garner, and especially Nat King Cole.  (Later on he listened to Tatum).  He even preferred to play, like Cole and unlike Tatum, with a trio, consisting usually of a bass and guitar, but sometimes a bass and drums.  His most famous trios consisted of Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar or Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. 

Since his early days he was and still is a very popular player.  He recorded extensively with Verve record in the 1950s, and he went on to record over 200 records during his career.  His style doesn't have the flair and originality of Tatum, but it is very fast and dexterous and the man can swing at any rhythm.  (The first time I heard him, my mouth hung wide open, in astonishment.   I looked at the clock and was disappointed that the record store was closed, because I wanted to run down then and buy a CD!)

In 1960, he established the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, but it only lasted for 3 years.  He continued to record, afterward.  In 1993, he suffered a stroke, which weakened his left hand, but he still continues to play.

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