While most of us were busy stuffing stockings and turkeys, the world lost one of the best pianists to hit modern jazz--Oscar Peterson. The mind-blowing virtuoso passed away early Sunday as a result of kidney failure. He was 82.
Known for his fingers' lightning speed, Peterson could tickle the ivories from one end to another in a flash prestissimo. His left-hand wielded such uncanny strength that many of Peterson's bebop basslines matched the feverish pace of his finger lickin' melodies.
As he played with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington, Peterson became legendary as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio. With Ray Brown on stand-up bass and Herb Ellis on guitar, the trio's musical chemistry and spine-tingling improvisations really came to life on the At Zardi's recording. Some of my favourite tracks would probably be the bass-heavy "Falling in Love with Love," the smooth groove of "Big Fat Mama," and "Autumn Leaves"' addictive melody, as each song seems to embody the pinnacle of each member's musicianship.
And as the world bids farewell to its most revered jazz pianist, let me leave you with a little piece of Oscar Peterson heaven....
*The Oscar Peterson Trio play "A Gal in Gallico" circa 1958.