Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oscar Peterson, in Memoriam

Only one musician of any stature criticized Oscar Peterson, and that was Billie Holiday. It's not surprising since they were polar opposites, Holiday almost crying a forlornness only her flawed voice could express, and Peterson expressing a joy so profound and powerful only his incredible technique and planet and soul rocking swing could hold its message. Few musicians could keep up with his power, as we see in this set of 9 videos. Holiday's frailty became the template for artists because it was comprehensible, the hatred and barriers of the world crushing her spirit, with each compression creating more beautiful music. For Peterson his joy was an irresistible force, blowing away any barriers like so many poorly designed straw walls. In his joy there were no obstacles too strong or too heavy. Yet what he was saying I believe to be more profound, and still, for so many of us, to be incomprehensible.

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