piano technique is legendary. Have you ever heard the devastating Indiana
by Peterson, Ray Brown and Herb Ellis at 360 beats per minute?
To me, Peterson’s
phenomenal dexterity seems all the more remarkable given his immense
size. I remember seeing him larger-than-live at the Sydney Opera House
in a duo with guitarist Joe Pass. When he first walked on I was struck
by how his arms hung virtually motionless at the sides of his huge
frame. Yet although he was 52 then (March 1978), he swung with the power
of an 20-year-old.
Still, I can
wonder about his awkward bulk all I like, but clearly O. P. came to
terms with it early in life, as the following interview, which I found in
Gene Lees’ Oscar Peterson, the Will to Swing (ISBN 0 333 46547
It’s 11 July
1944, and on the CBC’s Merchant Navy Show the star is an
18-year-old Oscar, already 1.9 m and 101.7 kg.
that was terrific! Tell me, boy, how many hands you got?”
two, Mr. Davis, just two. But I like to make ’em work hard.”
not kidding. Tell me, Oscar, you’re still going to school, aren’t
right. My folks would tan my hide if I missed a day.”
dad would have his hands full there!”
what you say. My pop ain’t no pygmy either.”