Oscar: The Life and Music of Oscar Peterson


160 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88899-537-7
DDC j786.2'165'092






Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


This simply written biography of Canada’s beloved jazz great focuses
on his personal life as much as on his career. Music dominated
Peterson’s life, even as a child growing up in the working-class
neighbourhoods of Montreal. The brilliant piano technique that has been
his trademark throughout his career developed early during his study of
classical music. Its application to jazz brought him international
recognition. As a black musician, he experienced grinding racial
prejudice through much of his life, but was able to work around and
through it with the help of his fellow musicians. Over the 50 years of
his career, he worked with the best in the business on the North
American jazz scene.

The book includes a glossary of jazz terms, biographical vignettes of
other jazz stars, and annotated guides to recordings, publications,
movies, and websites. It is thoroughly indexed and endnoted, and
illustrated with black-and-white photographs of Oscar from childhood to
his appointment as chancellor of York University in 1991. Highly


Marin, Reva., “Oscar: The Life and Music of Oscar Peterson,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23774.