Oscar Peterson documentary currently in production

Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich has begun production on a feature-length documentary about legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, the Canadian Press reported on Wednesday.

The film is titled Oscar Peterson: Black and White and will be presented as a “docu-concert,” featuring archival concert footage as well as interviews with family members and musicians who performed with Peterson, the news agency reported.

It will also feature performances from other artists who were influenced by Peterson’s music, including Dave Young, Larnell Lewis, Jackie Richardson, Robi Botos, Measha Brueggergosman, Joe Sealy, Stu Harrison, Denzal Sinclaire and Daniel Clarke Bouchard.

Citing a news release from Avrich’s production house Melbar Entertainment Group, the Canadian Press also reports that Peterson’s widow, Kelly Peterson, will serve as a consulting producer. The documentary will be produced by Avrich and Mark Selby, and it’ll be executive produced by Avrich, Jeffrey Latimer and Randy Lennox.

The film is set to be released in the fall.

News of the upcoming documentary arrives not long after the release of Historica Canada’s new Heritage Minute about Oscar Peterson.

Toronto-based pianist and composer Thompson Egbo-Egbo portrayed a young Peterson performing in the late 1940s in one of the latest editions of the well-recognized 60-second short films. The clip was released in February as part of Historica Canada’s observance of Black History Month.


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Raised in Montreal, Peterson is one of Canada’s most honoured musicians and widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

In a career lasting more than 60 years, he released more than 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards — as well as a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy — and played thousands of concerts around the world. Among his best-known works are Hymn to Freedom, which became an anthem of the civil-rights movement, and his seminal albums Night Train and Canadiana Suite. Peterson died in 2007.