Our Saturday, July 25 afternoon mainstage show at Jazz Port Townsend will feature a special tribute to the great Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, presented by his protégé (and festival favorite), Benny Green.
Peterson (who passed away shortly before Christmas in 2007) was one jazz's most influential
His studio and live partners comprised a roll call of legends,
including Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis
Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole and Stan Getz.
But his musical journey with Benny Green is special.
Benny describes how he first met Oscar in a touching tribute to Oscar at Jazztimes.com:
"I was blessed to be befriended by Oscar in the fall of 1992, when he
came to hear the trio led by the late, great master of the bass, Ray
Brown, in Toronto. At the time, I was playing piano in Ray’s trio and
Jeff Hamilton was the drummer. Oscar was quite supportive of me after
hearing us play, and he encouraged a friendship, inviting me to
telephone or write him."
In 1993, Peterson won the prestigious Glenn Gould prize – an international award given every three years to an individual in recognition of their contributions to music and communication. At that time took the unusual step of publicly announcing his choice for protégé. He chose Benny Green.
The two pianists first performed together in 1996 at a gala Town Hall concert in honor of Peterson. The New York Times
said of that first musical meeting, “The bejeweled blues sensibility of
the 71-year old pianist was evident in the younger as they traded
sections of melody lines and choruses…”
The two went on to record Oscar and Benny in 1998. For these sessions, Peterson and Green selected a number of standards, exploring
a wide variety of moods and styles. In addition, in the final number,
“Barbara’s Blues, the rhythm section sits out while Peterson and Green
present a dazzling two.jpgano tapestry. Oscar and Benny features the two pianists celebrating their mutual admiration and musical bond with eloquence and infectious joy.
We hope you can join us on Saturday afternoon, for what we are sure will be an amazing tribute to Oscar Peterson.