Herbst Theatre, War Memorial
Curated by pianist and Oscar Peterson protégé Benny Green, this historic gathering of jazz piano greats Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, Gerald Clayton, and Justin Kauflin honors the Peterson’s legacy, backed by a superb rhythm section anchored by drummer and Peterson band alum Jeff Hamilton.
For the Berkeley-raised Green, who earned invaluable early experience in the trio of longtime Peterson trio bassist Ray Brown, the Canadian piano genius was a primary inspiration and mentor who in 1993 chose Green as the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. The two virtuosos collaborated on the superb 1998 co-led Telarc session Oscar and Benny, and for this exclusive tribute show, Green gathers a number of today’s jazz piano vanguard to perform— all of whom count Peterson as a primary influence. Bill Charlap considers Peterson the earliest, most formative figure in his musical development, while former SFJAZZ Collective pianist Rosnes is the Artistic Director of the newly-formed Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival in Ontario, Canada. Clayton and Kauflin represent the younger generation who carry on the fiery, virtuosic tradition of Peterson, and Charlap, Rosnes, Clayton, and Kauflin are all featured on 2017’s Mack Avenue salute to Peterson, Oscar, With Love, which contains music Peterson composed, but never recorded. The pianists are joined by veteran drummer Jeff Hamilton, a Ray Brown trio bandmate with Green, who performed in Peterson’s trio and co-leads the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Gerald Clayton’s father, bassist John Clayton.