The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Great Canadians of the 20th Century #13
Oscar Peterson dies at 82


Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)

Not just Canada's greatest jazz musician, but one of the most talented players the music ever produced, whether swinging hard with his trio (the Ray Brown/Herb Ellis years are hard to beat) in the '50s or matching melodic wits with a variety of fellow geniuses, from Count Basie to Dizzy Gillespie, on a series of duet LPs for Pablo in the '60s. Peterson was a gifted and generous artist, an accomplished composer, and by all accounts a humble and unassuming man who came to life the moment skin touched ivory.

Listening to a live recording of Peterson with bassist Brown and guitarist Ellis from 1958, I can hear a joy and enthusiasm for playing that never gets in the way of delicate, finely measured finger work. Perhaps not a maverick like Art Tatum or Thelonious Monk, Peterson nevertheless brought a new level of sophistication and a higher standard of musicianship to his instrument that many have learned from, but few have mastered.

The Globe and Mail obituary can be found here

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