Oscar, With Love: A celebration of a Canadian jazz legend at the NAC in Ottawa

Strolling up Elgin Street past the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, it's hard not to notice the bronze statue of jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson. The statue was unveiled in 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II, and features Peterson with his signature 97-key Bosendorfer Imperial. On July 10, 2017 some of the finest pianists on the jazz scene gathered in Ottawa to play the very same Bosendorfer that Peterson kept in his studio in Toronto. Photographer Dan Nawrocki was there to enjoy the music and take some terrific photos. Here's his review.

'Oscar, With Love'
National Arts Centre, Southam Hall Ottawa

In commemoration of the 90th birthday of jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson, his widow, Kelly Peterson produced a recording of original never-before-heard Oscar Peterson compositions aptly titled “Oscar, With Love”. The album features a series of performances by some of the most celebrated jazz artists in the world and was recorded in Oscar's home studio on his treasured Bösendorfer Imperial piano that has barely been touched since the Jazz legend’s death in 2007.

Montreal pianist Oliver Jones at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Montreal pianist Oliver Jones at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Gerald Clayton at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Gerald Clayton at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

The concert which followed was part of the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene series and Emceed by Kelly Peterson and daughter Celine, who gather together seven of the world’s most renowned jazz pianists together for a rare concert appearance performing Oscar’s original compositions on his beloved Bösendorfer.

Pianist Robi Botos and bassist Dave Young at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Robi Botos and bassist Dave Young at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

The evening’s program featured performances by Bill CharlapGerald ClaytonBenny Green, Justin Kauflin, along with Canadians Robi BotosJon Kimura Parker and included a very special appearance by Oliver Jones, who had come out of retirement for the evening in order to pay homage to his dear friend and musical mentor.

Pianist Bill Charlap at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Bill Charlap at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Toronto bassist Dave Young at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Toronto bassist Dave Young at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

Throughout the two hour tribute, each artist performed selections by and for Oscar, supported by Canadian bassist Dave Young, Oscar’s long-time associate, who appeared alongside the musicians on a variety of compositions in an unforgettable evening that brought a legend’s treasured piano back to life once again in what has been billed as an “intimate evening of music and memories”.

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Justin Kauflin at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Justin Kauflin at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Benny Green at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki
Pianist Benny Green at the Oscar, With Love concert at the NAC in Ottawa. Photo: Dan Nawrocki

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