Last night WotN and I went down to the Bridgewater Hall to see Oscar Peterson. The guy is a titan of jazz piano and you couldn't have asked for a greater contrast with this gig. Walking on stage Oscar Peterson looks a little frail now, and he speaks rather softly (maybe he always has). But when he starts playing, it's all still there. He can really swing - and he did. He also knows the blues inside out, both in swinging and ballad mode, and if he's lost any of the huge technical virtuosity, it wasn't evident to me.
Oscar played two numbers for Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, one a beautiful ballad written by the late great bass player, the other coming with a story that went something like this... Once in a gig in Washington DC, NHOP challenged Oscar to compose a piece right there - on the hoof, so to speak. So Oscar did, dedicating it to a 'lady' he was seeing at the time. Last night he played old favourites - 'Satin Doll', 'Hymn To Freedom' - as well as stuff I didn't know. The audience loved him. It was jazz, as only jazz is.