A memoir of Oscar

peterson_stamp1.jpgIt’s almost sixty years since I first heard the magic of Oscar Peterson on CBC radio broadcasts from Montreal.

So many thoughtful and gracious words have been written and spoken in memory of this exceptional musician that I tremble to add my own.

Flashback to a summer night in the late fifties and a concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall featuring Peterson, Ray Brown and Herb Ellis sharing the stage with the great Ella Fitzgerald. This was a concert that resonates fifty years later: a devoted audience stripped to shirt sleeves against the intense heat but totally wrapped in the music in spite of a thunderstorm that for a while raged outside. All else seemed to fade away through the magic of those four on stage.

I subsequently met the great Oscar, just once about 20 years later, but there was no time to tell him of he magic that concert brought to me.

Nor of the solace I get when, troubled by gloomy thoughts about what’s wrong with the world, I play Oscar’s Hymn to Freedom, the inspiring anthem he created for the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Since I have donated my body to medical research instead of requesting a funeral, I’ve left instructions for a modest celebration for those who care to remember me kindly. No sad songs, but plenty of Frank, Tony, Dean and Ella. And of course, much Oscar, closing with Hymn to Freedom

One Response to “A memoir of Oscar”

  1. Tara Aquilanti Says:

    Well Poppa I really enjoyed this edition and specifically this article on Peterson. I was not aware you are such a fan!!!! Now this music will remind me of you!
    Love ya