For nearly 60 years Oscar Petersen sat at the pinnacle of world jazz. Now the legendary pianist has died, aged 82, at his home in the suburbs of Toronto. He was a major innovator, bringing stride, boogie-woogie, and honky tonk styles into a more orchestral repertoire, adding them to bee-bop, and fashioning a string of memorable recordings. He was one of jazz’s most recorded artists, and the only living Canadian to feature on a postage stamp.
In the 1980’s Petersen campaigned for better representation for ethnic minorities in the media, and he was made a companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian decoration.