Sunday, April 10, 2016

Every possible musical idea

This week I wanted to share some videos by pianist Oscar Peterson as a source of inspiration. Peterson released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

Every possible musical idea

In the following video Peterson gives a piano lesson, where he exemplifies each style of jazz piano. He goes through styles such as stride, and shows the framework behind famous pianists such as Nat Cole and George Shearing. In addition to playing each style of jazz piano, Peterson is able to articulate what exactly goes into each style to make it sound special.

Watch a piano lesson with Oscar Peterson here

This video is especially eye-opening, as Oscar Peterson is such a unique voice in jazz - yet he can pinpoint the style, sound, and framework behind all the greats. In this way, he showcases how much research and work goes into every phrase - everything he plays has care and meaning. 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "C Jam Blues":

What's also special about Oscar Peterson is his jubilance with everything he plays - in fact he even once quoted: "I believe in using the entire piano as a single instrument capable of expressing every possible musical idea." 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "Body and Soul":

To learn more about Oscar Peterson and his career, listen to the NPR Jazz Profile, "Oscar Peterson: Piano Master."

Final Thoughts: 
Even the masters were once students - and it is inspiring to know that they never stop learning! Because, even when you conquer one musical idea, there are still infinite possibilities for the imagination. 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "Hymn to Freedom":

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Since September 2015 I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.  

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