In recognition of Black History Month, let us call our attention to Oscar Peterson’s achievements as a performer and educator of jazz. Let us pay homage to his intelligence and astuteness as a man; as an African-Canadian.

Oscar’s piano style reflects a broad understanding of classical pedagogy, jazz history and vocabulary across styles, and mastery in bebop expression. The importance of discipline, diligence, cogency and clarity are expressed throughout his entire body of work. Those under Oscar’s tutelage and influence were always privy to facts that were bolstered by his knowledge of a broad range of subjects outside of music, his interests in world culture at large, and his status as a world-class performer of jazz piano. Rendering him as one of the finest human beings to have graced the planet, Oscar’s supportive attitude with students and colleagues, his zeal and his palpable enthusiasm for life (and music) perfectly complemented all of his other virtues.

Oscar Peterson: A grand symbol of African-Canadian-Heritage and a ‘torch-bearer’ of American-Canadian-Jazz-Tradition.

– Ron Westray, Oscar Peterson Chair In Jazz Performance, York University