Wednesday, October 11, 2017

#015 "Maharaja of the Keyboard" - 12"x12" acrylic paint marker on wood panel

When I was a kid I was really into cars... I loved sports cars (I still do) I read about them, I played with nothing but HotWheels, I had lists and sketchbooks full of cars. Right now you are probably wondering what this has to do with Oscar Peterson. Well, when I moved to Canada we moved to Mississauga, Ontario. I also loved riding my bike so much of my time was spent riding my bike around the subdivisions around where we lived. One day as I was riding I saw one of the most beautiful cars ever made... a Mercedes Benz 300SL sitting in a driveway. I was blown away. I rode past it many times and saw it driving around on occasion until one day I saw a man outside washing it. I pulled into the driveway on my bike and and asked if I could look inside the car. The man let me poke around the car and be a nuisance. I'd see him every now and then and wave hi. I told some of my friends in the subdivision about it and they said "That's Oscar Peterson... he's some kind of famous musician". I still had no idea who he was until later on in life when I started listening to different music types and piano jazz and jazz trios started to interest me when it clicked. I got interested in Oscar Peterson because of his car first... then many years later I began to appreciate Oscar Peterson the musician. And what a musician... dubbed the "Maharaja of the Keyboard" by Duke Ellington himself, Peterson was made an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1972 for his over 40 years musical contributions. World renowned, his memorial concert in 2008 drew thousands and had such talent as Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock as performers honouring the jazz great.

You can watch a documentary on this incredible Canadian talent here:

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