Celebrating Jazz Piano Virtuoso Oscar Peterson for #JazzAppreciationMonth (LISTEN)

todayApril 13, 2022

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by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

In continued celebration of #JazzAppreciationMonth, today we drop in on virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson, who hailed from Canada, composed the de facto Civil Rights Movement anthem “Hymn to Freedom,” and was dubbed the “Maharaja of the Keyboard” by none other than fellow piano master Duke Ellington.

To read about Peterson, read on. To hear about him, press PLAY:

[You can follow or subscribe to the Good Black News Daily Drop Podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or create your own RSS Feed. Or just check it out every day here on the main website. Full transcript below]:

Hey, this Lori Lakin Hutcherson, founder and editor in chief of, here to share with you a daily drop of Good Black News for Monday, April 11, 2022, based on the “A Year of Good Black News Page-A-Day Calendar” published by Workman Publishing.

Being called the “Maharaja of the Keyboard” by Duke Ellington was a lot for Canadian-born jazz pianist Oscar Peterson to live up to – and he did.

In a career spanning over six decades, the classically trained Peterson showed off his virtuosity and dexterity in his compositions such as 1964’s Canadiana Suite and 1962’sHymn to Freedom, which was embraced by people around the world as the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement:

[Excerpt from “Hymn to Freedom”]

Peterson also excelled as accompanist to greats like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, and as front man of his world-renowned Oscar Peterson Trio in the 1950s, who recorded such treasures such as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”:

[Excerpt of “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”]

“Something’s Coming” from West Side Story:

[Excerpt of “Something’s Coming”]

and “C Jam Blues”:

[Excerpt of “C Jam Blues”]

Peterson won eight Grammy awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1978 and the International Jazz Hall of Fame in 1997.

Later this month over the April 22nd weekend, the  Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival will be held in Toronto, Canada and feature contemporary jazz artists Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau and Brian Blade, among others.

To learn more about Oscar Peterson, read his 2002 autobiography A Jazz Odyssey: The Life of Oscar Peterson, Oscar Peterson: The Man and His Jazz by Jack Batten from 2012 and Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing by Gene Lees, and watch the 2021 documentary Oscar Peterson: Black + White, currently streaming on Hulu.

And, of course, buy or stream as much of Oscar Peterson’s music as you can, including the latest 2021 posthumous release, A Time For Love, a recording of Peterson’s quartet live concert in Helsinki in 1987, which you can get on 180 gram blue vinyl if you’re into that through

Links to these sources and more are provided in today’s show notes and the episode’s full transcript posted on

This has been a daily drop of Good Black News, based on the “A Year of Good Black News Page-A-Day Calendar for 2022,” published by Workman Publishing.

Intro and outro provided by and produced by White Hot.

All excerpts of Oscar Peterson’s music included are permitted under Fair Use.

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(links to amazon books are paid links)

Written by: Gnoumaya Editor

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