Jan 012010

Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson, Canadian Hero and Virtuoso Jazz Pianist

Technique is something you use to make your ideas listenable…You learn to play the instrument so you have a musical vocabulary, and you practice to get your technique to the point you need to express yourself, depending on how heavy your ideas are”. – Oscar Peterson.

Oscar Peterson (1925 – 2007) was one of the greatest jazz pianists ever. He is the only jazz pianist of the contemporary era who can claim to be the heir of the great pianist Art Tatum. Although steeped in the jazz tradition, he studied with a pupil of Franz Liszt, an encouraged his students to study Bach.

He has one numerous awards: Eight Grammys including the Lifetime Achievement Award; the Toronto Arts Festival Lifetime Achievement Award; The BBC-Radio Lifetime Achievement Award, at least 16 honorary University Degrees, and much more.

In the following video clip, Oscar plays the song, “I Can’t Get Started”, solo piano. After having gone through a rubato introduction, at about 1:15 he goes into an moderate jazz tempo. Then at about 3:00 he more or less double-times it. At 4:00 minutes the camera catches a good view of his hands, doing one of his characteristic double-octave ad-lib single line solos.

Here is a transcription you can watch while Oscar plays Gershwin’s “How Long Has This Been Goin’ On?” In several places you can hear and see his double octave runs.

Read about Oscar Peterson on Wikipedia