Category: Peterson, Oscar

Oscar Peterson – The Dick Cavett Show (1979)

Today, a great treat. If you haven’t seen this Oscar Peterson clip from the old Dick Cavett show, hie thee to the link below and enjoy. There are performances by Oscar, a longish interview, and then Cavett speaks with Peterson piano-side and has the legend run through different styles and asks him a number of questions about certain players and techniques. Oscar even sings a bit with that Nat Cole voice of his. Great stuff.

—Peter Blasevick

Oscar Peterson in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

More great jazz interviews this week from CBC-Radio Canada! The Bob Smith Hot Air archive is a treasure trove of approximately 50 interviews Smith recorded with some of the greatest stars of the day, from the world of jazz and beyond. Captured between 1950 and 1982, these interviews include conversations with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Harry James, Oscar Peterson and Lena Horne, as well as Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli and many others.

This edition of Giants of Jazz focuses on the beloved Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson (1925-2007). “OP,” as he is affectionately known, met with Hot Air host Bob Smith for a far-ranging discussion on topics including keeping a band on the road, Canadian content regulations and new directions in pop music. From the interview:

“It means a hell of a lot to a Canadian artist, to any artist, to know that you have a place at home where the people really know you and dig what you do, and then that gives you even more confidence to go out and display those same wares to foreigners, whether it be in the United States or Europe or Japan or wherever it is.”

Click here to listen to Oscar Peterson in exclusive interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

Oscar Peterson in Conversation: Ruminations & Rebuttals, December 1979

“I spoke with the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson on a winter afternoon in 1979 at his Minneapolis hotel. He was in town to perform his own extended composition with the Minnesota Orchestra called “The Canadiana Suite,” a work originally released by Verve in 1964 as a trio recording. I believe now that Peterson had revived and rearranged this for performance because of his renewed interest in long-form pieces for jazz. These orchestral compositions would culminate in his 1981 album The Royal Wedding Suite, a celebration of the union of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Although each suite shows Peterson’s abilities as a composer and an arranger, both are now largely forgotten.

“In spite of his concert with an orchestra being only hours away, Mr. Peterson was happy to discuss his own solo and small group performances. However, he was also quick to draw parallels between jazz forms and classical music. As we began, I pointed out which of his albums I liked best and asked him to comment on some of his newer Pablo Records releases. He was happy to speak in specifics about albums from his entire career. As we neared the end of the brief amount of time his agent had set aside for me, I used one of my mainstay questions of that time, his interest in Duke Ellington. I asked this specifically because of the major orchestral jazz piece that he was about to perform, and I compared it with some of Ellington’s extended works. This discussion on the Duke led to some intense reaction, as did my later use of the names Art Tatum and Keith Jarrett in the same sentence…”

Click here to read Oscar Peterson in Conversation: Ruminations & Rebuttals, December 1979

Oscar Peterson & André Previn

This December 1977 BBC Four interview of Oscar Peterson was conducted (pun intended) by André Previn  sitting piano side and covers just about anything you’d like to know about the great Canadian pianist. Peterson performs examples (as does Previn) and the two generally yuck it up for an hour. Previn is typically funny and Peterson is typically great.