Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson's Dream of Peace and Equality

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Oscar Peterson had been called by some the greatest jazz pianist ever. He was also an articulate advocate of peace. My guest columnist ---Oscar Peterson:

by Oscar Peterson

It is not unlike the state of good health. Something that we all seem to take for granted, and wait too long to do something about, until we are in dire pain; WAR. We expect it to be with us at all times whilst doing nothing to constructively insure this. We try our best to ignore others that may be suffering with bad health and seemingly only intercede when it is blatantly to our advantage.

For all of us to participate locally in the quest for peace it would seem to me, forestalls the chance of a world wide epidemic; WORLD WAR.

My vision of peace encompasses an awareness of the rights of our fellow man irrespective of race, color or creed. Words spoken and repeated many times on many occasions, political or otherwise, and by many individuals; but so often only used to fill spaces on paper. I believe that if mankind could honestly embrace the true embodiment of those misused words, the world would be much farther along the road to good health.

Over the last years, I have followed with extreme interest, man’s (and women’s) struggle to expand the frontiers of our world to include the unknown and voluminous reaches of space. During this time there have of course been varied speculations about what type of life possibly exists out there, and whether we could comprehend them and their mode of life. My own concern has always been slanted more towards what they would think of we humanoids and our warring ways. Should any visitors emanating from a peaceful society enter our galaxy, they must certainly diagnose us as a terminal species.

We can stem the tide of the epidemic by taking the time to recognize our brothers and sisters as humans that have been willed the right to exist anywhere in this world that they should so choose. That they also have the right to work and earn a fair and equitable wage. They must have the opportunity to raise their families without fear of the hate squads and the purveyors of bigotry and oppression. They must retain the right to choose their own system of government so long as all people remain free and equally represented. They must have the right to worship in their own private way without forcing their own religious beliefs on their neighbors.

We can look on these inalienable human rights as the vitamins and antibiotics that keep our present day civilization healthy and productive. They are at times to some of us bitter pills to take especially when we have prospered on our brothers and sister’s illness. However, it has been proven beyond all shadow of a doubt that we can only have a healthy world if we are able to throw off that perennial yoke of selfishness and oppressive decadence.

We are the primary architects of our future destiny, and as such, can also be the physicians that are capable of initiating the healing process that our world so desperately is in need of. To myself as a citizen of the same world, I look forward to the time when the medication of brotherly understanding and respect begins to make its effect felt, and the world is on the road to good health!

-- PEACE, Oscar Peterson

The soul of Montreal's favorite son lives on in soaring, swinging jazz licks of incredible invention and precision. Classically trained, Peterson could swing with unerring senses of phrasing and rhythm. Other great musicians were flattered to perform with him and challenged to keep up with him. It is my hope that his dreams of world peace will likewise blossom and enrich us. Adieu, Oscar.

Oscar Peterson & Andre Previn play together

Duke Ellington called Peterson "the "Maharajah of the keyboard". His career spanned 60 years. Wikipedia has done a creditable job with his essential bio facts.

Oscar Peterson Trio - A Gal In Callico (1958)

Oscar Peterson [Night time] - A Night in Vienna

Ella Fitzgerald sings "More Than You Know" with Oscar Peterson 1980

Also see: Oscar Peterson, Piano Virtuoso




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