A new Heritage Minute is celebrating the life of legendary Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.
Available online, the clip chronicles the jazz master’s rise to the top of the jazz world.
The Heritage Minute begins with a piano arriving at the Peterson family’s apartment in Montreal in 1930.
The voiceover narrator, speaking as Peterson, says, “Music would be our ticket out of poverty.”
The clip also acknowledges the racism Peterson faced at jazz gigs in the 1940s.
Peterson’s daughter, Céline Peterson, was consulted about the Heritage Minute. She said the debut of her father’s Heritage Minute during Black History Month is significant.
“A huge part of my Dad’s story was racism, first at home and then around the world,” she said, pointing out that it was especially prominent early in his career as he travelled the southern U.S.
“He told the story when I was young about driving up on a KKK meeting when they were going from city to city. Hearing him talk about it is still haunting for me today. Maybe even a bit more so now than it was before.”
Céline Peterson added that although her father won many awards, she believes he would be especially proud of his Heritage Minute.
“I think this is one of the ones that would really overwhelm him,” she said.
“People all over the world are familiar with the Heritage Minute, and it’s such a monumental form of recognition.”
Peterson won seven Grammy awards. He died of kidney failure in 2007 at the age of 82.
In more Peterson news, The Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival is presenting a special online broadcast of select moments from the Oscar Peterson & Friends television series on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. EST in lieu of their traditional festival.
SOURCES: CBC.CA, THEGLOBEANDMAIL.COM, OPJAZZFEST.ORG