Oscar Peterson was born in 1925 in Montreal. From an early age, he developed a strong musical confidence. With a perfect and natural pitch, he learned classical piano and the values and importance of music from his sister and father respectively. It is thanks to his family that Oscar Peterson is one of the most admired pianists in the world.
Certainly the most popular Canadian artist of the time and even today, he played and recorded with many jazz stars such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Oscar Peterson developed during his childhood and reached his maturity during the bepop and swing years of the 1940s. An unmatched brute force at the piano, Oscar Peterson seemed to play effortlessly and with total mastery of his instrument. According to some fans, Oscar Peterson was a genius and his longevity and accomplishments probably validated his importance in jazz history.
His career began at the age of 14, when after winning a radio contest, Oscar Peterson began making regular public appearances. He then formed his own jazz trio and signed a recording contract with a Canadian label. He was already known for his technique, his fluid and masterful playing, and some of the great artists of the time, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Count Blasie, came to Montreal to see him play. One evening in 1949, Norman Granz was so surprised by Peterson that he asked the pianist to accompany him to New York as a surprise guest for his Jazz at the Philarmonic events. During this show, he shared the stage with Charlie Parker and Lester Young, which definitely launched his international career. Oscar Peterson began touring with the Philharmonic, visiting 41 cities in North America, as well as Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines.
For all jazz fans, Oscar Peterson's classic is his trio formed in 193 with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis. Even without a drummer, Peterson's percussive style left no room for a new member. In addition to recording with many trios as well as his own, Oscar Peterson recorded with duos such as Dizzy Gillespie. During this period, Peterson's popularity and standing continued to grow, and he became increasingly popular for his solo performances. Between 1970 and 1980, he recorded up to six albums a year.
Oscar Peterson has 12 honorary degrees, including Chancellor of York University from 1991 to 1994. He also founded the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto. Among his many awards, it is impossible not to mention his 7 Grammy Awards for only 12 nominations. In addition, in 2005, Peterson was honored by his home country with a commemorative stamp featuring his portrait. He became the first living person in Canada, other than a reigning monarch, to be featured on a stamp.
On December 23, 2007, due to health problems, Oscar Peterson died of kidney failure in his home in the suburbs of Toronto, at the age of 82.