Legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whose influential career spanned seven decades, died at his home outside Toronto, Canada on Sunday as a result of kidney failure. He was 82.
Greatly admired by his fans and peers, Duke Ellington once referred to him as the "Maharajah of the Keyboard," while Count Basie said, "Oscar Peterson plays the best ivory box I've ever heard."
"Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today," once said Herbie Hancock of Peterson's influence on music.
Peterson's long and illustrious career included playing with such legendary jazz figures as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. He is also remembered for the trio he led with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis in the 1950s and the live concert clip below is that same Oscar Peterson Trio performing "A Gal In Gallico" in 1958.
Since his death on Sunday there have been tributes pouring in from near and far. In Canada, where he has always been revered as a national treasure, there have already been many tributes to the jazz great. There have also been tributes arriving from all over the world, including from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who said in a statement about Peterson: "One of the bright lights of jazz has gone out. He was a regular on the French stage, where the public adored his luminous style...It is a great loss for us."