Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Last night, I saw (and listened joyfully to) the piano jazz virtuoso, Oscar Peterson or OP as he refers to himself, perform at Yoshi's, one of the great jazz venues of the world. How many other 81-year-olds are going on international tours? Mr. Peterson, I think you understand the brain's need for novelty, change, and challenge. OP disclosed that he went to high school with Maynard Ferguson, one of the all-time great trumpeters, and his sadness at his recent death. He dedicated his amazing composition, "Requiem," to Ferguson, Joe Pass, and other greats that he's known who have "passed." OP himself experienced a debilitating stroke in 1993 after having had TB as a child, which made being a great horn-player an impossibilitiy. Lucky for us, he turned to piano. He rebounded again after his stroke through therapy. Although he now relies much more heavily on the upper register, he has relearned playing with his left hand, too. The result is nothing less than genius. At Yoshi's, it's possible to sit very close to performers, no more than 8-10 feet away. OP smiled at me. We had eye contact. That's it! I love him. But then I did before I made eye contact. OP, while he was playing, had a look of pure joy on his face. Music does that to us as listeners, too. Imagine what it must be like to be OP. I feel lucky to have caught him on this tour.
More on music and the brain later. A fascinating topic.
technorati: music, Oscar Peterson, stroke, Maynard Ferguson, jazz