I have always enjoyed the firstrate piano performances of Oscar Peterson, and now I can enjoy his firstrate autobiography, edited by Richard Palmer. A JAZZ ODYSSEY is a reading experience that will move you with its detail, blunt honesty, and touches of humor.
Born in Montreal, Canada in 1925, Oscar Peterson became one of Canadas greatest musical figures worldwide. A JAZZ ODYSSEY is divided into 4 parts. Part One is "The Key To Oscar. Part Two is "More Keys: The 1960s Onwards." Part Three is "Matters Political." Part Four is "Matters Personal."
Reading this book the readers come to know the joys and sorrows of this great pianist's life. Sections from this fine autobiography keep returning to my thoughts as I write this review such as "Early Teachers" "Subcultures and Bigotry" "Early American Days" "The 1950s" "Early Trio Life and Dealing with the Road" "Buddy Rich" "Stan Getz and Zoot Sims" "The Percussive Group: Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen" "1960s and 1970s" "Hangout in Japan" "Bigotry Starts Early" "Nigger!" "Culture Politics: The Betrayal of Jazz" "Marriage and Fatherhood" "Surgery; Resurgence; Stroke!" "The Perfect Retreat" "The Elusive Control of Emotion" "The Will to Perfection" among many fine sections.
What makes this a perfect classic autobiography of a jazz musician is that it is the honest story of a pianist and composer who was and continues to be an outstanding example of what jazz is means and represents. There are some moving comments about his life after his stroke in the mid-1990s. Among his many internationally-known compositions are "Canadian Suite" and "Easter Suite." An excellent reading experience and one that will draw the readers back for repeat readings into the life of Oscar Peterson.
A JAZZ ODYSSEY contains many photographs and index. There is a discussion of his albums such as "My Fair Lady" "Porgy and Bess" "Ella and Oscar" "The Astaire Story" among many others.
Some of the people he discusses include Fred Astaire Peal Bailey William "Count" Basie Ray Brown Joe Bushkin Nat King Cole actor Gary Cooper John Coltrane Dorothy Dandridge Buddy DeFranco actor/director Clint Eastwood Duke Ellington Herb Ellis Bill Evans Jon Faddis Ella Fitzgerald George Gershwin Norman Granz Billie Holiday Stan Kenton Jerome Kern Gene Krupa Leadbelly Carmen McRae British actor James Mason Yehudi Menuhin Wes Montgomery Anita O"Day Cole Porter Frank Sinatra Jerry Southern and on page 126 and pages 151-152 he talks about hipster vocabulary.
Any reader interested in the history of jazz over the past 50 years will find this book a remarkable resource and enjoyable reading. A JAZZ ODYSSEY is one of the finest jazz autobiographies written by a jazz artist. Excellent reading.'A JAZZ ODYSSEY is the autobiography of jazz pianist/composer Oscar Peterson. It is one of the finest, most revealing music autobiographies written in the past several years, filled with insights, comments, and excellent writing. If you like Oscar Peterson, this is the book for you! Petersons unique story will delight shock and entertain!'