Born: 1921 | Died: June 23, 2013 Primary Instrument: Piano
Jeanne Arland Peterson, pianist extraordinaire, was a child prodigy. Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, her talent revealed itself early on, when she began to play chords and melody on the piano at the young age of 3. But, remarkably she did not have her first formal piano lesson until the age of 15. That same year she had her first paying gig under the watchful eye of her older brother, saxophonist Donald Pouliot. Jeanne's musical mentors in those days were Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, and their influence is very much reflected in her enduring and innovative playing style.
Eventually, her talent and experience cumulated at the largest radio station the Twin Cities, WCCO. She was staff vocalist and pianist there for an astounding 22 years. In addition to her respected radio work, she often performed extensively for a myriad of nightclubs and contributed her prestigious talent to various recording sessions.
In her hometown of Minneapolis, she has been a beloved local celebrity, winning numerous awards for her charitable contributions of time and talent. Governors Rudy Perpich and Arnie Carlson both declared a day in her honor, and she has the distinction of being one of only two women inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the other recipient being Judy Garland. Jeanne was also the organist for the Minnesota Twins from 1969 through 1971 and taking over that position from her husband Willie, who passed away from cancer in 1969.
One of the hardest working and in demand artists around who is always gigging Jeanne, is also lovingly known as the matriarch of Minnesota's first family of music. Jeanne has raised five children, all of whom are successful and respected professional musicians traveling and performing nationally and internationally. She had one son, a Down's syndrome child, who died of leukemia at the age of two. As a result of her loss, she has become actively involved with ARC of Minnesota, (Association of Retarded Citizens) contributing her special talent to the annual benefit concert each year.
Jeanne has had the good fortune of sharing the stage with many talented performers and artists over the years. An impressive partial list includes Bob Hope, Perry Como, Red Skelton, Dianne Carroll, just to name a few. She also is honored to count as friends, both Marion McPartland and the legendary Peggy Lee. She has also performed with venerated jazz artists, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, George Benson and Bud Shank
Additionally, in 1977, Jeanne was the first woman to receive the prestigious ARTS MIDWEST JAZZ MASTERS award for excellence in jazz musicianship.
Jeanne 's numerous admirers of esteemed musicians includes David Sanborn, Dave Koz, Ben Sidran, Jeff Lorber, Oleta Adams and Toots Thielman—with whom she has recently recorded. Jeanne also claims another son, Donny Osmond, whom she has adopted into her burgeoning family. A huge fan, she has per his request, recently appeared twice on the popular nationally syndicated, Donny and Marie Show.
Continuing to amaze and delight her ever-expanding listening audience, Jeanne has just released her fifth CD entitled The Christmas Rose, a beautiful collection of solo piano Christmas hymns.
Jeanne resides in Richfield, Minnesota, and continues to be an inspiration to her children, fellow musicians, and fans alike—endearing herself to everyone she meets. She is the quintessential ageless woman blessed with remarkable talent, which has endured a lifetime, and will continue to flourish for many years to come—proving beyond a shadow of a doubt— that age knows no boundaries.
A musical treasure, a legend- my Minnesota mom.
—Donny Osmond, recording artist
Jeanne should be everybody's mom- we need to take her on the road and we'd never go into any lounge, because no one plays piano like mom.
—Phil Ramone, producer
Jeanne is a joy to play with-knows all the tunes-interprets them with true genius!
—George Benson, recording artist
Jeanne Peterson is my mother too. I am proud to be an honorary member of her musical brood. She's taught us all how to grow old with style. Her playing classic, too-fisted! She don't play like a girl.
—Ben Sidran, producer and recording artist
A wealth of musical knowledge-great feel and harmonic sense!
David Sanborn, saxophonist and recording artist
Jeanne's playing knocks me out!
—Joe Sample, keyboardist and recording artist
I want her to adopt me! What a wonderful musician.
—Dave Koz, saxophonist and recording artist
Jeanne Peterson is an imaginative and passionate pianist. Her interpretations of standards always amuse, astound and delight.
—Jeff Lorber, recording artist