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|Chapter 1||Mount Royal's Shadow||9|
|Chapter 2||Between the Tracks||19|
|Chapter 3||Swinging in St. Antoine||33|
|Chapter 4||Dominion Network||45|
|Chapter 5||The Alberta Lounge||61|
|Chapter 6||Norman's Conquests||71|
|Chapter 7||Making Time||83|
|Chapter 8||Ray and Herb||101|
|Chapter 9||All the Possibles||123|
|Chapter 10||Ray and Ed||135|
|Chapter 11||Trial Term in Toronto||153|
|Chapter 12||Tearing Down Oscar||165|
|Chapter 13||Mrs. Gallagher||177|
|Chapter 14||End of an Era||187|
|Chapter 15||Black Forest Solo||199|
|Chapter 16||Russian Jam||213|
|Chapter 17||Service to Canada||227|
|Chapter 18||A Rich Tradition||239|
|Chapter 19||Second Opinions||255|
|Chapter 20||New Discoveries||265|
|Chapter 21||Taking No Prisoners||283|
Posted October 3, 2010
The musicality of the Jazz Virtuoso Oscar Peterson has been something that people around the world have admired and envied for a career of over sixty years. Within the novel Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing by Gene Lees, Lees expresses Mr. Peterson's amazing life through a extraordinary point of view. Oscar Peterson was born August 15th of 1925, in a petite neighborhood called Little Burgundy in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Oscar grew up in a tiny house with a large family that was overflowing with musical ability. At the young age of five years old, Oscar pursued an interest in both the trumpet, as well as the piano. When Oscar turned seven years old, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which prevented him from following his interest in trumpet, so he switched his complete musical interest to the piano. From there on he pursued his passion and became one of the greatest to ever play the instrument.
Gene Lees throughout the book does a great job providing not only the facts about the jazz prodigy's life, but also going into very detailed information about what Oscar thought, how he reacted, and just overall the view points that most biography writers can't get. The reason is because Gene Lees had the pleasure of actually meeting, and knowing Mr. Peterson during his prime years of playing Jazz. This book goes into illustrious detail about not only Oscar Peterson, but the men who inspired him to be a greater musician, artists such as Art Tatum, George Gershwin, J.J. Johnson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Joe Pass, Teddy Wilson, as well as his two trio members for over six years, Bassist Ray Brown, and Guitarist Herb Ellis.
This book not only covers the problems that he faced as a working musician out of Canada, but it also covered the constant race struggles he faced during his career. In some cases he was not able to play at certain clubs cause he was black, and at other clubs that would allow him to play, they wouldn't let him come in through the front door, he had to go around to the through the back. What makes this such a strong biography over other ones that have been written on Oscar's life is the way it covers how Oscar interacted with all the great minds of Jazz, from the Norman Granz jam sessions, to the later trio settings with Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, and Ed Thigpen, as well as all the other guest appearances he's made over the years.
This books if for anyone that loves Jazz, and anyone who loves Jazz loves the way that Oscar Peterson slams down on ivory keys. For all the Jazz lovers out there, read this book, it is a great way to learn what difficulties early jazz musicians went through. After reading this book I would also recommend Django: the Life of a Gypsy Legend, which is about the life of gypsy legend Django Reinhardt. Oscar Peterson was a fantastic musician, and should be someone that everyone has on their I-pods.
Posted May 24, 2000
The history of the great Oscar Peterson could only have been written by someone who really knew him and his music. Gene Lees brings us a detailed look at the life and times of this legendary jazz pianist and his long tenure at the top of his craft. A must read for all jazz fans.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.