Oscar Peterson, a major presence in jazz for nearly 60 years and a national hero in Canada, has died.
According to the Associated Press, the cause of death was kidney failure. Less than a month ago, Mr. Peterson posted a message to fans on his website:
“I would like to apologize for my absence for the last while. Things got very busy both with business and personal duties.
“I am very happy to say I am back. Let me assure you that I will try my best to keep up with providing you with new Journal entries, and updates on what I am doing. I am looking forward to it.”
As recently as 2006, Oscar Peterson headlined the Monterey Jazz Festival.
A pianist renowned for his technique and speed, Peterson leaves behind an enormous amount of recorded material.
To hear his rollicking rendition of Ellington’s “Caravan,” recorded in duet with Dizzy Gillespie in 1974, click here.
Peterson, the son of a Canadian Pacific Railway sleeping-car porter, received his country’s highest civilian honor – the Order of Canada – in 1973.