This article was originally published by FYIMusicNews.

Most young players long for that participatory dream moment when opportunity permits and the confidence is there to approach a peer and ask to sit in. The bones rattle, the knees wobble, the hands turn blue or white, fingers drain of blood and muscles weaken. Showtime!

Guitarist Lorne Lofsky had one of those career-altering moments at an open jam several decades back at George’s Spaghetti House while sitting in with trombonist Butch Watanabe, sideman for the Lionel Hampton band and the Boss Brass and a childhood friend of Oscar Peterson. What if Oscar shows? What if, during the session, he catches you soloing on Hogtown Blues, a composition scripted by the eminent jazz pianist?

“Oscar showed up and heard me, and he was very gracious,” Lofsky recalls. “He stayed for most of the night. A month or two went by. I was at home practising and the phone rings … The voice on the other end says, ‘Lorne, this is Oscar Peterson.’ I said hi. He then says, ‘I was just wondering if you are signed to any record company?’ I said no. He goes on to say, ‘Well, hang on, I’ve got Norman Granz right here.'”

At one time, Norman Granz was considered the most successful jazz impresario in the world. He was noted for producing a travelling roadshow of the day’s jazz giants — Oscar, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich — called Jazz at the Philharmonic beginning in 1944. Presumably, Granz came up to visit Oscar in Mississauga.

“Norman got on the blower and said, ‘Well, Oscar tells me you’re a really good player.’ I don’t know what I said exactly. I was in shock. He then inquires, ‘Would you like to do a record?’ I’m in disbelief yet say sure. ‘Then I’ll be in touch,’ says Granz.”

Lofsy continues: “Later we went into Manta Sound to record — which is long gone — in April, 1980. I think we were there for about five or six hours. In hindsight, it would have been nice to have been there longer, but back in Oscar’s time they would have recorded a couple of takes, take one from each tune and that would be it. They mixed my album and put it out on vinyl, released as It Could Happen to You on the Pablo label.”

With the glory years in the rearview mirror and a solid teaching career under his belt, I caught up with the socially conscious and politically mindful Lofsky for a conversation about his new album, This Song Is New — out April 2 on Modica Music — and the 25-year absence between Lofsky recordings.