Monday, December 24, 2007

BLUE NOTE OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF JAZZ LEGEND OSCAR PETERSON

Today, the Blue Note joins jazz fans all over the world in mourning the death of our friend Oscar Peterson, one of the greatest and most influential jazz pianists of all time. Peterson, 82, died of kidney failure on Sunday, December 23, according to the Neweduk Funeral Home in Mississauga, Toronto.

In the early days of the Blue Note, owner Danny Bensusan was determined to book Oscar Peterson at the club. “I always tried to develop a relationship with Oscar. He wanted to play the club but he had many commitments in the area. One day, (bassist) Ray Brown came to me and said ‘Danny, I’ll get you Oscar Peterson, and I’ll get him with the original trio.’ They came, and from that first performance, Oscar never missed a gig.”

The first week with Oscar Peterson at the Blue Note took place in April of 1984 with Ray Brown and guitarist Joe Pass. Peterson continued to perform and record at the Blue Note over the decades with variations of his trio and quartet, featuring musicians like Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis and other special guests. For his three Telarc recordings at the Blue Note, Peterson won three Grammy awards; the first two for his group and solo performance on the 1990 release “The Legendary Oscar Peterson Trio Live at the Blue Note,” the second for the group performance on the 1991 release “Saturday Night at the Blue Note.” In February 2007, Telarc released “What’s Up? The Very Tall Band” featuring Peterson with the original trio of Milt Jackson and Ray Brown, recorded live at the Blue Note in November of 1998.

Oscar Peterson was born in Little Burgundy, Montreal on August 15, 1925. Heavily influenced by Art Tatum, James P. Johnson, and many other pianists of the day, Peterson brought his talents to the United States in 1949 with his Carnegie Hall debut after being discovered by jazz impresario Norman Granz. Through Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic series, Peterson met and performed with many of the greatest jazz musicians of his generation, including Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ben Webster, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie.

From the early 1950s until his death, Peterson performed with his trios and quartets all over the world. He suffered a stroke in 1993, but within a year was performing and touring again, despite a severely weakened left side. Throughout his career, Peterson won seven Grammy awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and numerous schools and concert halls have been named in his honor.

Peterson’s performances in those early days were significant in establishing the Blue Note as one of the top venues in jazz. Although he is no longer with us, his presence will always be felt at the Blue Note.

His death was confirmed by Neweduk Funeral Home in Mississauga, the Toronto suburb where Peterson lived. The town's mayor, Hazel McCallion, told The Associated Press that he died of kidney failure but that she did not know when. The hospital and police refused to comment. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that he died on Sunday.

His death was confirmed by Neweduk Funeral Home in Mississauga, the Toronto suburb where Peterson lived. The town's mayor, Hazel McCallion, told The Associated Press that he died of kidney failure but that she did not know when. The hospital and police refused to comment. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that he died on Sunday.

His death was confirmed by Neweduk Funeral Home in Mississauga, the Toronto suburb where Peterson lived. The town's mayor, Hazel McCallion, told The Associated Press that he died of kidney failure but that she did not know when. The hospital and police refused to comment. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that he died on Sunday.

5 comments:

Matt Ellsworth said...

Thank you, Oscar for your inspiring talent and unique style. You are truly one the great legends of jazz. Your music will live on forever. You will not be forgotten.
Matt Ellsworth
Charlotte, NC

Anonymous said...

we thank you, hero

Hank Johnson, stage name said...

Everytime I would leave to a jazz gig I always listened to an Oscar Peterson CD in my car. Somehow Oscar's great piano work inspired me to do a great performance on my gigs and lifted my spirits. I am a fan of Oscar Peterson and he will always have a very special place in my heart.
Stuart H. Tresser,CEO
Jazzbone Records / Tresser Music

http://www.jazzbonerecords.com

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Chad said...

He was truly one of the great!