Oscar Peterson - Exclusively for My Friends

In 1995, this CD came out with a dozen previously unheard titles by pianist Oscar Peterson from his famed "Exclusively for My Friends" private party performances made for MPS in the 1960s. Peterson is heard on four songs with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, while on the remaining eight, he heads a trio also including bassist Sam Jones and drummer Bob Durham. The emphasis throughout is on O.P.'s virtuosity and melodic improvisations. Although the release does not add anything surprising to Peterson's legacy, his playing is up to the level of his other sets of the period; highlights include "Gravy Waltz," "Three O'Clock In the Morning," an 11-minute exploration of "Tenderly" and even "Put On a Happy Face."

by Scott Yanow / All Music

Link: Exclusively for My Friends

Oscar Peterson, Jazz Pianist, Is Dead at 82

Published: December 24, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -- Oscar Peterson, whose early talent, speedy fingers and musical genius made him one of the world's best known jazz pianists, died at age 82.
His death was confirmed by Neweduk Funeral Home in Mississauga, the Toronto suburb where Peterson lived. The city's mayor, Hazel McCallion, told The Associated Press that he died of kidney failure but that she did not know when. The hospital and police refused to comment. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that he died on Sunday.
''He's been going downhill in the last few months, slowing up,'' McCallion said, calling Peterson a ''very close friend.''
During an illustrious career spanning seven decades, Peterson played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. He is also remembered for touring in a trio with Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar in the 1950s.
Peterson's impressive collection of awards include all of Canada's highest honors, such as the Order of Canada, as well as a Lifetime Grammy (1997) and a spot in the International Jazz Hall of Fame.
His growing stature was reflected in the admiration of his peers. Duke Ellington referred to him as ''Maharajah of the keyboard,'' while Count Basie once said ''Oscar Peterson plays the best ivory box I've ever heard.''
In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said ''one of the bright lights of jazz has gone out.''
''He was a regular on the French stage, where the public adored his luminous style,'' Sarkozy said. ''It is a great loss for us.''
Jazz pianist Marian McPartland called Peterson ''the finest technician that I have seen.''
McPartland said she first met Peterson when she and her husband, jazz cornetist Jimmy McPartland, opened for him at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto in the 1940s.
''From that point on we became such goods friends, and he was always wonderful to me and I have always felt very close to him,'' she said. ''I played at his tribute concert at Carnegie Hall earlier this year and performed `Tenderly,' which was always my favorite piece of his.''
The American jazz pianist Billy Taylor called Peterson one of the finest jazz pianists of his time.
''He set the pace for just about everybody that followed him. He really was just a special player,'' Taylor said.
Born on Aug. 15, 1925, in a poor neighborhood southwest of Montreal, Peterson obtained a passion for music from his father. Daniel Peterson, a railway porter and self-taught musician, bestowed his love of music to his five children, offering them a means to escape from poverty.
Oscar Peterson learned to play trumpet and piano at a young age, but after a bout with tuberculosis had to concentrate on the latter.
He became a teen sensation in his native Canada, playing in dance bands and recording in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But he got his real break as a surprise guest at Carnegie Hall in 1949, after which he began touring the United States and Europe.
He quickly made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso, often compared to piano great Art Tatum, his childhood idol, for his speed and technical skill.
He was also influenced by Nat King Cole, whose Nat King Cole Trio album he considered ''a complete musical thesaurus for any aspiring Jazz pianist.''
Peterson never stopped calling Canada home despite his growing international reputation. But at times he felt slighted here, where he was occasionally mistaken for a football player, standing at 6 foot 3 and more than 250 pounds.
In 2005 he became the first living person other than a reigning monarch to obtain a commemorative stamp in Canada, where he is jazz royalty, with streets, squares, concert halls and schools named after him.
Peterson suffered a stroke in 1993 that weakened his left hand, but not his passion or drive for music. Within a year he was back on tour, recording ''Side By Side'' with Itzhak Perlman.
As he grew older, Peterson kept playing and touring, despite worsening arthritis and difficulties walking.
''A jazz player is an instant composer,'' Peterson once said in a CBC interview, while conceding jazz did not have the mass appeal of other musical genres. ''You have to think about it, it's an intellectual form,'' he said.

AP reporter Lily Hindy in New York contributed to this story.

Oscar Peterson home page: www.oscarpeterson.com

Listen also in this blog: “Skol”, with Stephane Grapelli; “Night Train”, with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen; “Oscar Peterson and the Trumpet Kings, Jousts”, with Clark Terry, Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Jon Fadis and Dizzy Gillespie; “The trumpet summit”, with Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie, plus Ray Brown and Bobby Durham; “The Pablo All-Stars”, with Milt Jackson, Clark Terry, Ronnie Scott, Joe Pass, Niels Pedersen and Booby Durham.


Gerry Mulligan - Lonesome Boulevard

This album is amazing. The tunes gives me such a joy, such a happiness... This is a real spiritual, human album.
This album is out of catalog, don't ask me why...
Well, get this.

Bill Charlap - Piano
Dean Johnson - Bass
Richie De Rosa - Drums

1. Rico Apollo
2. I Heard The Shadows Dancing
3. Lonesome Boulevard notes
4. Curtains
5. Ring Around A Bright Star
6. Splendor In The Grass
7. Good Neighbor Thelonious
8. Wallflower
9. The Flying Scotsman
10. Etude For Franca

Lonesome Boulevard


Charlie Haden and Christian Escoudé - Gitane

Charlie Haden and Escoudé plays Django Reinhardt. Curious is that they are not gypsy, but ratter cool and smooth. A beautifully conceived and unforgettable album.
Get it!

Django - Lewis
Bolero - Reinhardt
Manoir de Mes Reves - Reinhardt
Gitane - Haden
Nuages - Reinhardt
Dinette - Reinhardt
Improvisation - Reinhardt

Christian Escoude - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Performer
Charlie Haden - Bass, Bass (Acoustic)
Alain Boucanus - Producer
Jean-Pierre Pelissier - Engineer

Link: Gitane