When he was a child, he played Bach and Chopin. His piano teacher Paul de Marky was the pupil of a pupil of Franz Liszt. As a teenager, however, Oscar Peterson shifted his interest towards jazz. Black pianists had a hard time to be recognized in the classical music business of the 1940's, but Peterson launched his jazz career primarily because he loved the freedom of improvisation. He went down in history both as a soloist and with several trios. As a virtuoso improviser, he can match the style of any famous colleague, but he also embellishes his own melodies with brilliant spontaneous ideas. Besides that, Oscar Peterson composes. He is celebrating his 75th birthday on August 15. Georg Hirsch spoke with Peterson, tracing back his career.
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