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Oscar Peterson , Zoot Sims


Oscar Peterson

Opening act: Zoot Sims

A keyboard virtuoso and our very own among great musi­cians of his generation, Oscar Peterson will undoub­tedbly be pleased to see that his efforts at making Jazz popular wirh the general public have had some happy results. An absolute must­see. See full article, p. 43.

When Sonny Rollins says he considers Zoot Sims the greatest saxophone player in history, little remains to be said! With: Ben Aronov (piano), Akira Tana (batterie). See full article, p. 66


Oscar Peterson was born in Montréal on August 15, 1925. His father, a porter for the CNR, started him on music tessons when he was six. At 13, Oscar Peterson won first prize in an amateur show and shortly after had the opportunity to participate in a radio show. In 1944, he was hired by one of the best Canadian bandiea­ders, Johnny Holmes. The more exposure Oscar Peterson got, the more popular he become in Canada. This could explain, in part, his reti­cence at crossing the U.S. border, as could his Jack of involvement in the musical evolution of the times sym­bolized by Parker and Gillespie.

After a much-acclaimed perfor­mance at Carnegie Hall, a young American lawyer by the name of Norman Granz suggested that Oscar Peterson become a permanent mem­ber of "Jazz at the Philharmonic", an organization dedicated to presenting the best musicians in the best con­cert halls. Having consented, Oscar Peterson is launched on a world tour to become, one short yearaftergoing to the U.S.A., the jazz pianist most appreciated by critics and public alike. In 1950, he took the "Best Pianist" slot in the DownBeat maga­zine pool.

From then on, Oscar Peterson was considered a worthy heir to Art Tatum. His versatility earned him many laurels, not only with J.A.T.P. with which he played until 1955, but also with the first trio that he formed with Ray Brown, bass, and Irving Ashby, guitar, soon replaced by Barney Kessel whose successor was Herb Ellis. During this same period, Oscar Peterson recorded, for the "Verve" label, a number of albums noted for their magnificent swing renditions, particularly those pro­duced with Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins.

In 1959, Ed Thigpen replaced Herb Ellis on guitar. Shortly after that came the waxing of "Night Train", one of the best pieces ever written for a trio. In 1966, Ed Thigpen and Ray Brown are respectively replaced by Louis Haye and Sam Jones, two former members of the Cannonball Adderley quintet. There followed the least productive period for Oscar Peterson, partly attributable to the rising popularity of rock music.

From 1970, Oscar Peterson's star was on the rise thanks to a series of great albums. Oscar Peterson is a piano virtuoso of such versatility and his reputation is such that he remains the unconstested master of the key­board.

Série A - Les Grands Concerts
Wednesday, July 6, 1983 at 7:00 PM
Théâtre St-Denis

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July 1983

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