I spent some time driving to an Associated Press newspaper editors’ conference in Park City, Utah, one year with my small, young family (our oldest child was under a year old then) before we became Utah residents ourselves.

The Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo
The Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We took a slightly different path than the usually quicker route once we got around Ogden, switching off of the more billboard-filled route of one freeway for the more scenic route of another.  Along the way, the jazz piano of Oscar Peterson was playing on cassette tape.

That was a pretty sweet part of the ride.  Oscar was one sweet piano player.

With influences including Nat “King” Cole and, especially, Art Tatum, Peterson was a proficiently technical player throughout a 60-year playing career, with the biggest thing slowing him down being health issues.  He did the best he could after suffering and rehabbing from a stroke in 1993, having to rely more on his right hand because of a weakened left arm.

His performances became more limited, but he kept playing until the months before his death in 2007.

It was only then that Oscar’s live sweetness could be quieted permanently.


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