Monday, December 24, 2007
Oscar Peterson, possibly the chief jazz piano virtuoso , has died. No one I've ever heard surpassed either his speed or his technical mastery of the ivories, and he was one of the handful of thuderclap virtuosos who's solos were continuous streams of melodic invention. His was an immense talent in service to musicality; his improvisations were so well developed that one might say that Peterson composed music each time he performed. One of my favorite jazz reissues is a disc called Face to Face which features Peterson with an group of improvising elite, including Freddie Hubbard and Joe Pass. It's a furious and magical blow out, with a long and faniful lacings and ribbon like sorties managing to leave me breathless each time I play it. Peterson, to be sure, led the way through the mad accelerations and fevered playing, the sparkle of his dancing cascades evoking jubilation.Thank you, Oscar.