<< -- 2 -- Malcolm Miller JAZZ LEGEND
The talks also focused on his remarkable virtuosity, that led to the
meteoric progress of his career and popularity on early radio shows, illustrated
with some choice clips from very rare broadcast archives. His creativity,
particularly in the harmonic sphere, was also discussed, with examples showing
the sheer complexity and fluency of his style, evidence of a sound and sure
classical grounding. The way he would interact with his ensembles, and his
stage presence, was commented on with affection and admiration. David Young,
his bassist for many years, shared some amusing and revealing anecdotes.
How he had given up an orchestral post to go on a world tour with Peterson;
how he would practise and practise a solo before a set, and be told that,
if it didn't work, Peterson would do one himself -- a competitiveness
that kept them all on their mettle. He insisted on painstaking rehearsal
and was a perfectionist -- for Young, every performance showed Peterson's
energy and drive at maximum power, the exhilarating experience of which
was illustrated in some video footage.
One speaker said how privileged he was to be speaking in the presence
of his hero; his enthusiasm radiated throughout the auditorium. Someone
at one point was so delighted he exclaimed 'this is getting gooder and gooder!'
-- which for me epitomized the curious, and entirely apt, interface between
spontaneous jazz musician and disciplined academic that gave the event its
memorable, appealing quality.
Copyright © 22 January 2001
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
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