Tag Archives: Appreciating Deeply

National Treasure #148: Oscar Peterson

One of Canada’s most honoured musicians, Oscar Peterson was widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. A highly accomplished soloist renowned for his remarkable speed and dexterity, meticulous and ornate technique, and dazzling, swinging style, he earned the nicknames “the brown bomber of boogie-woogie” and “master of swing.”
The Canadian Encyclopedia

Like Harry Wasylyk, Oscar Peterson was born in 1925. There the comparisons stop. While Wasylyk gets one of those 4-line Wikipedia entries, Peterson gets one of the longest entries in The Canadian Encyclopedia that I’ve seen:

  • Early years and education
  • Early career
  • Canada’s first jazz star
  • American introduction
  • Career highlights (focused on his performing career)
  • Compositions
  • Style and approach
  • Praise and criticism
  • Influence on other pianists
  • Career as educator
  • Radio and TV broadcasts
  • Canadian sideman
  • Personal life
  • Honours
  • Awards
  • Writings
  • Discography

About those awards:

  • 2 Juno awards
  • 8 Grammy awards, including one for lifetime achievement
  • 15 honorary degrees
  • 41 other awards

The miscellaneous honours are interesting for their diversity alone.

In 2002, he became the first person inducted into the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award from the Urban Music Association of Canada. In 2003, Mississauga named a street Oscar Peterson Boulevard, and the government of Austria issued a stamp in his honour. In 2005, a public school in Mississauga was named after him, and Canada Post made him the first living person other than a reigning monarch to appear on a stamp. – The Canadian Encyclopedia

The discography is also a little startling.

. . . a prolific recording artist, he typically released several albums a year from the 1950s until his death [in 2007] . . . and “He also appeared on more than 200 albums by other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, who called him “the man with four hands.”

Want more?  Check out his site, read this biography, and watch these YouTube videos:

Piano Lesson

C Jam Blues

Hymn to Freedom (Peterson composition)

Honky Tonk Train Blues (with Keith Emerson)

 

 

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Western Grebe, Gilbert AZ

Sitting on the shore of an artificial pond at Gilbert Water Ranch, I hear an odd tone that I’ve never heard before.  As it gets closer, I get more excited.  What can it be?

As the bird floats into view only a few feet from me, I realize that I don’t know it.  Woohoo!   Continue reading

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National Treasure #146: Geological Survey of Canada

Other than being a set of acronyms you’ve never heard of, what do these three things have in common:

  • CNSN
  • NATMAP
  • LITHOPROBE

If you guessed that they are all initiatives involving the Geological Survey of Canada, you’d be right.  Continue reading

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Gambel’s Quail, Gilbert AZ

Gilbert Water Ranch has been the site of many hours of photographic fun, mostly chasing water birds.

But it also has its fair share of the regular occupants of the desert and sometimes they’re close enough to warrant a picture.  I usually see these guys zooming along the ground, in and out of cover, top-knot feather bobbing, but they do sometimes hang out –  and sit more-or-less still –  in the trees.

Profile view of Gambel's quail in a tree of bare branches

 

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National Treasure #145: Theodore Witte

Who? The inventor of the caulking gun, that’s who.  In 1894, that’s when.

Drawings from 1894 patent application for sealant gun.

Depending on your work, this invention – or the various iterations and improvements over the years (see one example here) – might be a wonderful or an irrelevant thing.

But if your day-to-day work or your occasional home repairs have ever called for caulking, you should bless the name of Theodore Witte, even though I find no evidence that he ever did anything else of particular note or ingenuity.  Like many other inventors, Canadian and otherwise, he toiled in relative obscurity but we are the better for that toil.

 

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