Music In The Key Of Oscar

Oscar Peterson

 

A definitive documentary on the great pianist

Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) was one of the most dazzling pianists of the 20th century, and it would not be an overstatement to say that no other pianist could outswing him.

This 1991 documentary (which was filmed a few years before a major stroke hurt his playing) does a masterful job of summing up Peterson’s life up to that point.

Among those who talk about the pianist are Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Cleo Laine, Quincy Jones, Dudley Moore, Herbie Hancock, Ed Thigpen, Benny Green, and Norman Granz, plus Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, and Jeff Hamilton.

The latter three are seen performing with Peterson in 1991 including full-length performances of “Caravan,” “Gentle Waltz,” and “Nigerian Marketplace.”

Peterson’s life is covered including his beginning years in Canada, battles with racism in the 1950s, and his tours with Jazz At The Philharmonic; there are many excerpts from his television appearances.

This is an informative and very musical documentary about one of the greats.

-Scott Yanow

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