picture of Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar (* 1925) started classical piano lessons when he was six and developed quickly. After winning a talent show at 14, he began starring on a weekly radio show in Montreal. From 1945-1949, he recorded 32 selections for Victor in Montreal. His technique was quite brilliant even at that early stage. Granz discovered Oscar in 1949 and soon presented him as a surprise guest at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert. Oscar was recorded in 1950 on a series of duets with either Ray Brown or Major Holley on bass; his version of "Tenderly" became a hit. In 1952 he formed a trio with guitarist Barney Kessel and Brown. Kessel was replaced by Herb Ellis the following year. The Peterson-Ellis-Brown trio was one of jazz's great combos from 1953-1958. In 1958, when Ellis left the band, he was replaced by drummer Ed Thigpen. In contrast to the earlier group, the Peterson-Brown-Thigpen trio, which lasted until 1965, found the pianist easily the dominant soloist. Later versions of the group featured drummers Louis Hayes (1965-1966), Bobby Durham (1967-1970), Ray Price (1970), and bassists Sam Jones (1966-1970) and George Mraz (1970).
In 1960, Oscar established the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, which lasted for three years. He made his first recorded set of unaccompanied piano solos in 1968 during his highly rated series of MPS recordings. With the formation of the Pablo label by Granz in 1972, Oscar was often teamed with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels Pedersen. He appeared on dozens of all-star records, made five duet albums with top trumpeters (Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry, and Jon Faddis), and teamed up with Count Basie on several two-piano dates. An underrated composer, Peterson wrote and recorded the impressive "Canadiana Suite" in 1964 and has occasionally performed originals in the years since. Although always thought of as a masterful acoustic pianist, Peterson has also recorded on electric piano , organ on rare occasions, and even clavichord for an odd duet date with Joe Pass. One of his rare vocal sessions in 1965, With Respect to Nat, reveals that Peterson's singing voice was nearly identical to Nat King Cole's. A two-day reunion with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown in 1990, which also included Bobby Durham, resulted in four CDs. Peterson was felled by a serious stroke in 1993 that knocked him out of action for two years. He gradually returned to the scene, however, although with a weakened left hand. Oscar passed away in December 2007.
from Scott Yanow at allmusic.com


Rockin' Chair
Verve 837432-1
recorded August and December 1951 and December 1952 in New York City/USA
Roy Eldridge, trumpet
Oscar Peterson, piano, organ
Ray Brown, bass
Barney Kessel, guitar
Recital By Billie Holiday
Verve MGV8027
recorded July 1952 released 1956
Billie Holiday, vocals
Joe Newman, trumpet
Paul Quinichette, tenor sax
Oscar Peterson, piano, organ
Ray Brown, bass
Freddie Green, guitar
Gus Johnson, drums
Rockin' Chair
Verve MGV8290
released 1958
Ray Brown, bass
Oscar Peterson, piano, organ
Herb Ellis, guitar
Jerome Richardson, flute
Osie Johnson, drums
Oscar Peterson & Roy Eldridge
Pablo PN 4048
recorded December 1974 in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Oscar Peterson, piano, organ
Roy Eldridge, trumpet
The Giants
Pablo 2310-796
recorded December 1974 in Los Angeles, CA/USA
released 1977
Oscar Peterson, piano, organ
Ray Brown, bass
Joe Pass, guitar

Sound Samples
MP3 n/a
Video n/a


If you don't see the left hand menu,
please go back to the homepage.

Back to the homepage