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RIP OSCAR PETERSON 2007-12-27

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities, In Memoriam.
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Jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson has died of kidney failure at his home in Toronto, at the age of 82.

Peterson was one of jazz’s most recorded musicians, and was famous for his fast-playing virtuoso style.

He made more than 200 albums and won eight Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement honour in 1997.

He released his first single at the age of 19 and performed with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Nat ‘King’ Cole.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame announced last month that it was to present the star with its Founder’s Award in 2008.

This was to celebrate ‘a brilliant jazz pianist and composer’ who showed ‘musical dexterity and energetic performances’, it said.

Peterson, who had a working-class upbringing in Montreal, won a talent contest organised by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) when he was 14 years old.

‘The world has lost an important jazz player,’ Ms.Hazel McCallion, mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, and Peterson’s close friend said.

‘He’s been going downhill in the last few months, slowing up,’ she added.

His studio and live partners included Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Stan Getz.

Basie once described Peterson as someone who ‘plays the best ivory box I’ve ever heard’, while Ellington referred to him as ‘Maharajah of the keyboard’.

Gifted at improvisation, Peterson said in 2005 how live free-form jazz could enable ‘moments of great beauty to emerge’.

He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, and he was the first living Canadian to be depicted on a stamp.

Mr.Peterson was married four times and had six children from his first and third marriages and one daughter, Celine, with his fourth wife, Kelly.

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