Almost a year ago, Derek and I were perusing the iTunes store and stumbled upon what is now one of the greatest albums in our music library: Oscar Peterson’s Night Train. We had never heard of Oscar Peterson before, but since then we have become a fan. He was a black Canadian jazz pianist with incredible talent. In fact, in some circles he has been known to be one of the best pianists of all time. Whether or not he was, the point is that he was GOOD…really good.
“The Maharaja of the keyboard” (as Duke Ellington called him) lived from August 15, 1925 to December 23, 2007. Peterson was trained primarily in classical piano, and he devoted at least 4-6 hours per day to practicing scales, etudes, the preludes and fugues of J.S. Bach, and traditional jazz. It comes as little surprise that he quickly became world-renowned and spent 65 out of his 82 years playing the piano as a career, even though he suffered from arthritis since his youth.
The following video is from one of his concerts in London in 1964 – enjoy!