Jazz Research Journal, Vol 7, No 2 (2013)

Oscar Peterson’s piano prostheses: Strategies of performance and publicity in the post-stroke phase of his career

Alex Lubet
Issued Date: 30 Apr 2015

Abstract


In 1993, Oscar Peterson had a stroke that rendered him in essence a right-hand-only pianist. He resumed performing from 1994 until shortly before his death in 2007. The stroke. This paper examines how Peterson and his handlers employed “piano prostheses” to assist him. Two categories of prosthetic, analogous to uses of actual artificial limbs, are observed: 1) “performance;” band mates provide accompanimental support different from his pre-stroke groups 2) “cosmetic,” a non-disabled appearance is attempted, mostly by record annotators, by denying/minimizing the stroke’s impact. Peterson appeared ambivalent or vacillating in his attitude toward his disability, sometimes but not always relying on sidemen for extra assistance, and expressing highly varying degrees of openness in his public statements about his limitations. By contrast, his record annotators uniformly ignored or minimized the stroke’s impact. As a disabled public figure, Peterson’s situation is compared to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 ) HTML (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jazz.v7i2.17492

References


Accessible News (n.d.) ‘Profile: Neil Young’, http://www.accessible-news.co.uk/profile_neil.html (accessed 5 April 2014).


Bartley, John (2013) ‘Music Review: Spectral Blues (Alex Lubet)’. Wordgathering 7.4 (December), http://www.wordgathering.com/issue28/music/lubet.html (accessed 7 April 2014).


Betcher, Sharon (2001) ‘Putting my Foot (Prosthesis, Crutches, Phantom) Down: Considering Technology as Transcendence in the Writings of Donna Haraway’. Women’s Studies Quarterly 29.3/4 (Fall): 35–53.


Block, Irwin (1995) ‘Spirit Triumphs in Peterson Concert’. Montreal Gazette, 30 June: D1.


——(2001) ‘The Legend Swings on: At 75, Oscar Peterson Still Plays by his Own Rules and Rhythms’. Montreal Gazette, 7 July: A6.


——(2002) ‘Musical Ride: Oscar Peterson Lays Down the Story of a Life Lived in the Swing of Things’. The Gazette (Montreal), 31 August: H1.


——(2007) ‘Pianist Delivered Two-Fisted Thunder; “I’m a traditionalist and proud of it”’. Montreal Gazette, 26 December: A3.


Blumenthal, Bob (1995) Liner notes, The More I See You, Oscar Peterson. Telarc, CD-83370.


——(1997) Liner notes, A Tribute to Oscar Peterson: Live at the Town Hall. Telarc 2CD-83401.


Byrnes, Sholto (2004) ‘Off Key: Oscar Peterson at 79’. The Independent (London), 15 October: 18.


Canadian Press (2007) ‘Pianist was Giant of Jazz: Canadian Musician a Favourite around the World’. Hamilton Spectator (Ontario), 2 December: A11.


CBCnews (2011) ‘Junos Honour Neil Young for Charitable Efforts’, CBCnews/Arts & Entertainment, 27 January, http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/junos-honour-neil-young-for-charitable-efforts-1.1003478 (accessed 5 April 2014).


Chinen, Nate (2006) ‘Oscar Peterson Quartet’. New York Times, 18 August.


Clausen, Christopher (2005) ‘The President and the Wheelchair’. Wilson Quarterly 29.3 (Summer): 24–29.


CNN.com (2005) ‘Neil Young Treated for “Dangerous” Aneurysm’. CNN.com, 1 April, http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/01/neil.young (accessed 4 April 2014).


Davis, Clive (1997) ‘An Oscar for All Seasons’. Sunday Times (London), 26 October: Features.


Diehl, Matt (2010) ‘It’s a Joni Mitchell Concert, sans Joni’. Los Angeles Times, 22 April, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/22/entertainment/la-et-jonimitchell-20100422/1, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/22/entertainment/la-et-joni
mitchell-20100422/2
, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/22/entertainment/la-et-jonimitchell-20100422/3 (accessed 4 April 2014).


Eggar, Robin (2007) ‘The Renaissance Woman’. Sunday Times (London), 11 February: Features (Culture): 30.


Eutenier, Anita (2000) ‘A Jazz Legend, in Chorus and Verse; The National Library of Canada Devotes a Birthday Exhibit to Oscar Peterson’. Globe and Mail (Canada), Globe Review: R3.


Fordham, John (2005) ‘Oscar Peterson’s Triumphant Comeback: Oscar Peterson: Royal Albert Hall, London 4/5’. The Guardian (London), 4 July: Leader Pages, 24.


Gallagher, Hugh (1999) FDR’s Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt’s Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal It from the Public, 3rd ed. Arlington, VA: Vandamere Press.


The Gazette (Montreal) (2007) ‘Peterson Leaves Wonderful Legacy’. 27 December: A28.


Gioia, Ted (2013) ‘The 100 Best Albums of 2013 (all styles, all genres)’, http://tedgioia.com/bestalbumsof2013.html (accessed 6 April 2014).


Goddard, Peter (2013) ‘Mississauga Student Wins $40,000 Oscar Peterson Scholarship’. Brampton Guardian, 7 November, http://www.bramptonguardian.com/whatson-story/4196209-mississauga-student-wins-40-000-oscar-peterson-scholarship (accessed 5 April 2014).


Hall, Devra (2000) Liner notes, Trail of Dreams: A Canadian Suite, Oscar Peterson and Michel LeGrand. Telarc CD-83500.


Haraway, Donna (1985) ‘The Cyborg Manifesto and Fractured Identities’. Socialist Review 80: 65–108.


Holden, Stephen (1999) ‘Peterson, Right-Handed and Right On’. New York Times, 29 June: E6, 3.


Kelly, Deirdre (1995) ‘Art Ink: Jazz on the Mend’. Globe and Mail (Canada), 29 June.


Lees, Gene (1988) Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys.


Longmore, Paul (2003) Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


Lubet, Alex (2002) ‘Disability Studies and Performing Arts Medicine’. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 17.2: 59–62.


——(2010) ‘(Paralyzed on One) Sideman: Disability Studies Meets Jazz, through the Hands of Horace Parlan’. Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation 6.2. http://www.criticalimprov.com/article/view/1268 (accessed 29 March 2015).


——(2011) Music, Disability, and Society. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


——(2012) ‘What the Right Hand Doesn’t Know…’ Wordgathering 6.3 (September), http://www.wordgathering.com/past_issues/issue23/arts/lubet1.html (accessed 6 April 2014).


——(2013). Liner notes, Spectral Blues: New Music for Acoustic Guitar, Alex Lubet, composer and guitarist. Ravello, RR7865.


McKay, George (2013) Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.


McPartland, Marian (1997) Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. National Public Radio, 9 November, http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=17622315&m=90469170 (accessed 1 June 2011).


Miller, Mark (1999) ‘A Jazz Legend Handles his Own Legacy with Care’. Globe and Mail (Canada), 23 February: C3.


Mitchell, David T., and Sharon L. Snyder, eds. (1997) The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.


Moon, Tom (2002) ‘A Master of Improv is Renewed by Melody’. Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 September: H02.


Official Website of Oscar Peterson, oscarpeterson.com (accessed 27 June 2011).


Oscar Peterson Discography (n.d.) http://www.jazzdisco.org/oscar-peterson/discography (accessed 3 June 2011).


Palmer, Richard (2004) Liner notes, Oscar Peterson: A Night in Vienna. DVD. Verve 02498 6253-4.


Peterson, Oscar, and Richard Palmer (2002) A Jazz Odyssey. London: Continuum.


Ratliff, Ben (1996) ‘In a Tribute, Old Talent Plays off Young’. New York Times, 5 October: 1, 24.


——(2004) ‘In Every Note, a Comment on Getting Old’. New York Times, 17 June: E4, 9.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (n.d.) Joni Mitchell Biography, http://rockhall.com/inductees/joni-mitchell/bio (accessed 5 April 2014).


Sandall, Robert (2006) ‘Miraculously, Magically, the Years Fell Away’. Daily Telegraph (London), 1 July: 21.


Shipton, Alyn (1994) Liner notes, Side by Side, Oscar Peterson and Itzhak Perlman. Telarc, CD-83341.


——(1995) Liner notes, An Oscar Peterson Christmas, Oscar Peterson. CD, Telarc 515956K.


——(1997a) Liner notes, Oscar in Paris, Oscar Peterson. Telarc, 2CD-83424.


——(1997b) Liner notes, Oscar Peterson Meets Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore. Telarc, CD-83399.


——(1998) Liner notes, Oscar and Benny, Oscar Peterson and Benny Green. Telarc CD-83406.


——(1999a) Liner notes, A Summer Night in Munich, Oscar Peterson. Telarc CD-83450.


——(1999b) Liner notes, The Very Tall Band: Live at the Blue Note, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Milt Jackson. Telarc CD-83443.


——(2005) ‘Still a Major Player’. The Times (London), 4 July: 2, 15.


Siebers, Tobin (2008) Disability Theory. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.


Smith, Marquard, and Joanne Morra (2006) ‘Introduction’. In The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Sobchack, Vivian (2004) Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.


Tarnow, David (producer) (2011) ‘Oscar Peterson’. NPR’s Jazz Profiles: Oscar Peterson. National Public Radio, http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles/archive/peterson.html (accessed 1 June 2011).


Watrous, Peter (1995) ‘JAZZ FESTIVAL REVIEW: Ups and Downs of Jazz and an Unrattled Master’. New York Times, 29 June: C; 11.


——(1998) ‘Clear Thinking that Swings to Make People Feel Good’. New York Times, 28 May: E5, 1.


Wills, David (1995) Prosthesis. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy