Oscar Peterson - August 15, 2005

Carla Marciano 4tet - A Strange Day

August 15, 2005 marked his 80th birthday and how do you honor jazz icon and 7-time Grammy Award winner Oscar Peterson?  Well, if you’re Canada Post you pay tribute to this jazz history-maker by making history.  This living legend is now featured on a very special commemorative stamp featuring the work of renowned photographer Gilbert Duclos.  Beautiful images of Peterson (at the piano, as well as a close-up of his gifted hands) have been transposed together to make a visually striking piece of art.  So, if you are going to send a note, make it a musical one.

Downtown Toronto was abuzz at the HMV store as special (and secret) guest recording artists, Diana Krall and Elvis Costello celebrated this momentous occasion.  Humbled and privileged to perform for her musical hero, Krall seated at the piano serenaded him in grand style and Peterson’s moving song, When Summer Comes with lyrics penned by Costello, became a lovely gift indeed.  It was unbelievable!  Then a swinging version of Happy Birthday roused everyone and we belted out our very best!  Later, Peterson treated all to his poignant composition Requiem, which he dedicated to the jazz musicians who’ve passed on and included among them was upright bassist and friend, Niels-Henning OrstedPedersen (‘The Viking’)  

Gracious and soft-spoken, Mr. Peterson was clearly moved by the 100 jazz enthusiasts; press and radio/record dignitaries who stood shoulder to shoulder to honor him.    

Happy Birthday Mr. Peterson!  (And thank-you!)

Website: www.oscarpeterson.com

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-D.J. Fazio