January 12, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Just after the promenade of NEA Jazz Masters, a spot of good news for US foreign relations. NEA Chairman Dana Gioia and Canada Council for the Arts chair Karen Kain presented an award posthumously to Oscar Peterson. Hear Chairman Gioia read the proclamation.
Kelly, Oscar's wife, and Celine, his daughter, accepted the award.
During the ceremony, Oscar's childhood neighbor, Oliver Jones, sat at the piano and played tribute to his dear friend. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, directed by NEA Jazz Master David Baker, joined Oliver for the musical salute:
Dave Young, Oscar's longtime bassist (1974-2006), joined Oliver for a trio take on Oscar's "Hymn to Freedom":
This was just the beginning of a phenomenal evening for jazz.
As I post this, there's an amazing show happening at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. The concert's called "Simply the Best." Herbie Hancock, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, and everyone in Canada are coming out for Oscar. The concert is free to the public. Nearly 2,000 seats were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to those who lined up at the box office. Fans began showing up at 5:30 a.m. We're hoping to secure rights to air the show on WBGO at a later date... - Josh
© 2008 WBGO