I don’t know how these two men met but I’m guessing it was through Norman Granz, since both men toured extensively with Jazz At The Philharmonic. Of course it really doesn’t matter how they met. I’m just glad they did. I think this Gershwin tune was filmed in Sweden in 1963. It’s included on a DVD called “Oscar Peterson Live In ’63, ’64 and ’65.”
I was thinking about the first line of the song which is “They’re writing songs of love, but not for me” and an odd thing occurred to me. I went through a terrible song writing AND terrible poetry writing phase as a teenager but, oddly, I never wrote a love song for anyone. I was a dateless wonder back then but I did have plenty of crushes. There should have been spiral notebooks filled with paeans about Mark Garner, and Jesse Cooper and… what’s-his-name, the kid with braces but no, mostly I wrote about angst and snacks… good God absolutely nothing has changed has it?
This particular slice of awesome is from a 1979 interview. Oscar Peterson did a fair amount of teaching and mentoring in the course of his career and he even founded a school in Toronto. I love the way he wraps words around stylistic qualities that I’ve always been able to hear but never describe. He plays snippets of probably 8 songs in this clip but he only names about half of them. Here’s the list of the ones he mentions:
“I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”
“Roses Of Picardy”
“It’s Almost Like Being In Love”
“Sweet Georgia Brown”
Hey, speaking of tales of daring tales of adventure (yes, I know, just go with it) I have one to share with you! My daughter has reached that golden age where she can make her own bowl of cereal and turn on her own cartoons in the morning which means her loving mother can sleep in! So I was still abed on Sunday morning when I was awakened by the sound 40 pounds of squealing 6 year old barreling up the stairs. “MOMMMYYY!!! There is something in our bathroom and it is brown and it has wings!”
Now my daughter has a bit of a flare for the dramatic. I have no idea where she gets it from. (yes, I know, just go with it) Naturally I assumed the simplest answer first. “It’s just a moth dear.”
There was a brief silence then the sound of retreating footsteps followed by yet another squealing advance. “Mom that is NOT a moth!”
So I stumbled sleepy eyed from my bed and into our bathroom to find a HUGE bat (“huge” here meaning tiny) looming in our door frame (“looming” here meaning huddled in the corner).
This is not my first dance with a bat in the house. We seem to get one a year. Usually it’s flying around so I grab the broom purely for holding purposes because it makes me feel proactive somehow. Then I open the door and it just flies out. This is the first bat I ever encountered in daylight, just hanging there in standard bat sleeping position. “No problem,” thought I “I can finally put that broom to good use. I’ll just gently nudge it to get it flying then open up the door so it can fly out. What could possibly go wrong?” Here’s the thing about bats: they’re nocturnal. Now, of course this isn’t news to me. I’ve seen plenty of National Geographic specials. What I didn’t know is that bats are really really serious about this nocturnal thing! When I touched my little house guest it pulled it’s little bat head out from behind it’s little bat wings and regarded me with one sleepy disgruntled little bat eye. Then it let loose a string of squeaks that, if I had had a bat to human translator, I’m sure would have insulted my parentage, questioned my species and cast aspersions on my bedroom practices! After several failed attempts to wake it and several biblical plagues ultrasonically called down upon my house, the bat finally left of it’s own accord around 9:30 that night. I am glad this year’s bat encounter is over. I sure hope next year isn’t more “exciting.” I’m not sure my heart, my broom, or my homeowner’s insurance could take it!
PS Oscar Peterson truly is awesome!