The legendary jazz pianist's autobiography has been a work in progress for nearly fifteen years and proves to be well worth the wait. As monumental as the man himself and his six-decade career in jazz, A Jazz Odyssey begins with Peterson's early years in Canada as part of a large family for whom times were often hard, going on to trace in detail not only his musical development but much of the social and political background that underscored it. Peterson's account focuses on his US debut at Carnegie Hall in 1949 and his startling rise as a presence in American jazz, as both virtuoso soloist and empathetic accompanist. The section on Norman Granz, Peterson's closest friend and manager from his earliest American days, pays tribute to the late impresario's ground-breaking achievements as a concert promoter, record producer, and significant civil rights activist, while the large section entitled "Jazz People" logs Peterson's warm and often hilarious reminiscences of the innumerable jazz stars he played for and with including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Ella Fitzgerald. Later sections document Peterson's subsequent career as a solo pianist, his three highly successful series for the BBC as a chatshow host on Oscar's Piano Parties, reflections on the many pianos he has owned and played, and specific aspects of his personal life.
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Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson is, in the words of Quincy Jones, 'one of the greatest musicians on the planet.' Richard Palmer is a lifelong jazz fan and has been a staff writer for Jazz Journal since the late 1970s.From Publishers Weekly:
In this muddled and confusing autobiography, Canadian pianist Peterson pays a long-winded tribute to his many jazz pals in lieu of revealing much about his own life. It's a shame, considering so little is known about him; with well over 200 albums spanning six decades, Peterson (b. 1925) is widely considered one of the greatest and most prolific jazz musicians ever. Unfortunately, from the outset Peterson is a reluctant subject. He supplies some of the bare facts of his speedy rise to jazz superstardom from musical training under his Caribbean immigrant father, who administered lickings for wrong notes, to his being discovered in 1949 by legendary jazz promoter and Verve label owner Norman Granz, who set up Peterson's American debut at Carnegie Hall. There are some entertaining anecdotes, such the first time a wide-eyed Peterson attended one of Billie Holiday's drugged-up soir‚es and was met at the door by the tumbling body of her accompanist ("Billie was at the top of the stairs hurling invectives at him, and she ended this scene by throwing a couple of Coke bottles after him as he landed at my feet"). But there are never enough personal details to make Peterson come alive for readers. One hundred pages into this hefty tome, Peterson abruptly abandons his narrative to write a series of overwritten and uninsightful portraits of the jazz greats he's worked with, such as Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins; many vignettes are accompanied by poems. Instead of returning to the story of his life, Peterson chooses to end this odd book with a series of unrelated "essays" on great hotels and his experiences in the outdoors. B&w photos not seen by PW.
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Book Description Continuum International Publis, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110826476244