Oscar Peterson, whose dazzling keyboard skills made him one of the world’s most popular jazz pianists, died at age 82 last weekend. The Canadian muscian made his American debut at a 1949 Carnegie Hall concert and went on to work with some of the American greats including Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Ben Webster, Lester Young and Louis Armstrong.
Herbie Hancock, another jazz piano legend, said Peterson’s influence could be found ”in the generations that came after him.”
”Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today,” Hancock, 67, wrote in an e-mail. ”I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, hard blues grooving, and tenderness. … No one will ever be able to take his place.”