News

A New Heritage Minute Tells The Incredible Story Of A Montreal Jazz Legend

Oscar Peterson won 8 GRAMMYs and played alongside Ella Fitzgerald.
A New Heritage Minute Tells The Incredible Story Of A Montreal Jazz Legend

Regarded as one of the world's greatest jazz pianists, Montreal jazz legend Oscar Peterson has finally been honoured in a Heritage Minute

If you don't know who Peterson is, sit back and enjoy a short history of the one they called "The Man With Four Hands." 

Editor's Choice: One Of Montreal's Most Loved Museums Is Sadly Closing Its Doors For Good

In the Heritage Minute, Peterson's story begins in 1930 when he's a child in Montreal's Little Burgundy neighbourhood.

Far from the hipster haven it's become, Little Burgundy in the '30s was working class, and one of the city's first predominantly Black neighbourhoods. 

In the video, the narrator, speaking as Peterson, explains that "music would be our ticket out of poverty."

Practicing classical pieces "twice as hard" with his sister Daisy, Peterson quickly developed his prodigious talent from a young age. 

After Peterson and jazz music found each other, the rest, as they say, is history. 

Despite facing racism, by his 20s, Peterson had developed a reputation as a brilliant jazz pianist.

He was invited to play at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1949, which solidified his status as a jazz superstar. 

Throughout his more than 60-year career, Peterson played alongside legends, such as Herbie Hancock and Ella Fitzgerald and won eight GRAMMY awards. 

Peterson passed away in 2007 at age 82, leaving behind a legacy that will inspire jazz musicians in Montreal forever.