Oscar Peterson

Duke Ellington dubbed him the “Maharajah of the Keyboard” and Count Basie said he played “the best ivory box I’ve ever heard,” while Ray Charles simply called him “one motherfucking piano player!” Oscar Peterson, one of the all-time jazz greats, died at the age of 82 over the holidays, and we here at Kempt can’t help but be saddened by the passing of man who provided the soundtrack to some of our most memorable moments.

During the span of his 60-year career he cut albums with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz, to name a few, and composed the score to Woody Allen’s *Play It Again, Sam* in 1972. He was an imposing presence wherever he appeared due to his stature and natty attire. And his renditions of the Cole Porter and George Gershwin songbooks are standouts, though he covered the gamut from swing to blues. Our personal favorite among his numerous recordings is *The Jazz Soul of Oscar Peterson*—a suitably immortal epitaph.

—J.P.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Jared Paul Stern