Streams

An Hour With Oscar Peterson

A Special, One-Hour Fishko Files

Friday, January 16, 2004

During "An Hour with Oscar Peterson," this remarkable musician tells his life story in his own words. He speaks about his childhood aspiration to be a trumpeter, cut short by tuberculosis ("I got to the piano, via the trumpet, via tuberculosis…"), and his subsequent piano studies ("My elder sister Daisy went the classical way... and I was a renegade; I went the other way. I didn't know I was good, really; I just knew this was what I wanted to do.")

He ponders the death of his older brother, Fred ("He was a much better pianist... if he were alive today, I'd be his manager."), and affirms the celebrated story of his "overnight discovery" by 1940s concert impresario Norman Granz, who, rumor had it, heard Peterson on a live radio broadcast in a taxi and ordered the driver to turn around and take him to the performance immediately ("It's true!").

Peterson's reminiscences are interspersed with many archival recordings: listeners hear Peterson's Carnegie Hall debut performance, on September 18, 1949, when the 24-year old was a special guest at "Jazz at the Philharmonic," as well as a meditative rendition of "I Get Along Without You Very Well" from London's Royal Festival Hall in 1978; and "Lulu's Back In Town" recorded at the German villa of Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer in 1968. During the hour, Peterson also shares his memories of jazz colleagues Art Tatum, Ray Brown, Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and others.

And, at the end of his musical musings, how does "the pianist's pianist" feel about his imminent 75th birthday? With a hearty laugh, Peterson declares: "I'm not worried, I've been good!"
Originally aired August 12, 2000

Peterson/CD list : selections (or excerpts) used, in order of their appearence in the program:

1. Chicago Blues (1973)
from "The Trio"
Oscar Peterson, piano
Joe Pass, guitar
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, bass
Pablo PACD 2310-701

2. Blues Etude,
from "The Trio"
Oscar Peterson, piano
Joe Pass, guitar
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, bass
Pablo PACD 2310-701

3. Dvorak' Humoresque (1945)
from The Complete Young Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson, piano
Armand Samson, guitar
Bert Brown, bass
Roland Verdon, drums
Jazz Tribune No. 6, RCA 66609

4. Sunday (1955)
from The Oscar Peterson Trio at Zardi's
Oscar Peterson, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Herb Ellis, guitar
Pablo, 2PACD 2620-118

5. Norman Granz announcement and Fine and Dandy (1949)
from Jazz at the Philharmonic (1949)
Oscar Peterson, piano
Ray Brown, bass
The Complete Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1944-49, Verve set

6. Tiger Rag (1932)
from The Art of Tatum
Art Tatum, piano
ASV AJA 5164

7. Stormy Weather, Tatum, 1937, same as above

8. Tea for Two, Tatum, same as above

9. I Get Along Without You Very Well 1978
from The London Concert, 1978
Oscar Peterson, piano
(John Heard, bass
Louis Bellson, drums on other cuts)
Pablo, 2 PACD 2620-111

10. Noreen's Nocturne (1956)
from The O.P. Trio at the Stratford Festival
Oscar Peterson, piano
ay Brown, bass
Herb Ellis, guitar
Verve, 314-513-752

11. Seven Come Eleven (1952)
from The Essential Oscar Peterson, The Swinger
Oscar Peterson, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Barney Kessel, guitar
Verve 314-517-174

12. Lulu's Back in Town (1968)
from Exclusively for my Friends
Oscar Peterson, piano
rve 314-513-830

13. Easy Listenin' Blues (Cole, 1944)
from The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio
Nat King Cole, piano
Oscar Moore, guitar
Johnny Miller, bass
Capitol Jazz, CDP 7, 98288

14. Easy Listenin' Blues (Peterson, 1973)
from The Trio
See Number 1, above

15. Blues Etude
from The Trio
See Number 1, above

16. Bye Bye Blackbird (1968)
from Exclusively for my Friends
See Number 12, above

17. Blues for C.T. (1978)
from Oscar Peterson and Count Basie, Yessir Thats My Baby
Oscar Peterson, piano
Count Basie, piano
John Heard, bass
Louis Bellson, drums

18. I Hear Music (1975)
from Ella and Oscar
Ella Fitzgerald, vocal
Oscar Peterson, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Pablo, PACD 2310-759

19. You Look Good to Me (1977)
from Oscar Peterson and the Bassists, Montreux '77
Oscar Peterson, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen, bass
Pablo, OJCCD 383-2

Related Links:
Studies in Perfection - Oscar Peterson, Vladimir Horowitz, and Transcendent Accuracy by Sara Fishko

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