Cultural Percussionist

Oscar Peterson Day

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, OOnt (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, but simply “O.P.” by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received numerous other awards and honours. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists, and played thousands of concerts worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.

Peterson was born to immigrants from the West Indies; his father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific RailwayPeterson grew up in the neighborhood of Little Burgundy in Montreal, Quebec.

In 1950 Peterson worked in a duo with double bassist Ray Brown. Two years later they added guitarist Barney Kessel. Then Herb Ellis stepped in after Kessel grew wearing of touring. The trio remained together from 1953 to 1958, often touring with Jazz at the Philharmonic. Peterson also worked in a duo with Sam Jones, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Joe Pass, Irving Ashby, Count Basie, and Herbie Hancock.

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