Happy 80th, Oscar Peterson

Tender GameI couldn’t let this pass by without making some mention of it: here’s a belated happy birthday to legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, who turned 80 last Monday. He celebrated his birthday in Toronto with the unveiling of a new Canadian postage stamp bearing his likeness. It marks the first time a Canadian stamp has paid tribute to a living Canadian. Peterson has a bit of a history with the animation world as well. In 1949, he collaborated with Norman McLaren on the quintessential scratch-and-paint-on-film short BEGONE DULL CARE. In the mid-1950s, he recorded songs for John Hubley’s animated feature FINIAN’S RAINBOW. Though the film was never produced, John and Faith Hubley used Peterson’s recording of “Tenderly,” with Ella Fitzgerald on vocals, as the backdrop for their exquisite short TENDER GAME (1958). Peterson’s animation resume is brief, but if you’re going to have only two cartoons to your credit, it’s hard to do any better than BEGONE DULL CARE and TENDER GAME. And if you’re looking for prime Peterson on disc, I highly recommend the 4-cd set EXCLUSIVELY FOR MY FRIENDS. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t play a cut from these recordings. It is four hours of pure genius… live trio and solo recordings from the mid-1960s that simply can’t be beat.