On January 12, a tribute concert for the late Oscar Peterson was held in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall. It was free and open to the public. I was working at a conference and could not attend, so I was thrilled to hear that the CBC had put the concert up on their website. I'm listening to it as I write this and am overwhelmed with emotion. O.P. was a much loved and admired musician and human being. The tributes to him, both musical and in words are simply beautiful.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Phil Nimmons, who was a close friend of Oscar's for over half a century. For him, speaking at this concert was the opportunity to say goodbye to a friend who meant so much to him. When Phil arrived at Roy Thomson Hall people were lined up around the block. And though the hall seats over 2600, there is no way that all of those people got in. Phil, a jazz legend himself, was amazed at how many people lined up for hours just to see this concert. He was in awe of the fact that Oscar meant so much to so many. I think that sometimes, artists don't realize just how much their talent and artistry affect us as human beings. And Oscar affected and influenced so many people. His musical legacy will live on for a very long time.