One of the most admired pianists in jazz, Oscar Peterson has rightfully claimed the same sort of status as earlier greats such as James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Bill Evans. Possibly the most successful artist produced by Canada, he appeared on well over 200 albums spanning six decades and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. During his career he performed and recorded with, among others, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker. He was beyond doubt an authentic jazz piano virtuoso, with a remarkable and prolific legacy of recordings and performances.
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC, CQ, O.Ont was born on August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec.He began learning trumpet and piano from his father at the age of five, but by the age of seven, after a bout of tuberculosis, he concentrated on the piano. Some of the artists who influenced Peterson during the early years were Teddy Wilson, Nat King Cole, James P. Johnson and the legendary Art Tatum, to whom many have tried to compare Peterson in later years. In fact, one of his first exposures to the musical talents of Tatum came early in his teen years when his father played a Tatum record to him and Peterson was so intimidated by what he heard that he did not touch the piano for over a week.
Peterson has also credited his sister Daisy, a noted piano teacher in Montreal who also taught several other noted Canadian jazz musicians, with being an important teacher and influence on his career.