First Annual Youth4Music Leadership Symposium

Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm thrilled to be participating in the first annual Youth4Music Leadership Symposium, happening this Saturday, November 14th at Ryerson's Oakham House

I am one of 5 incredible speakers who will be sharing our love of music and the influence it has had on our lives. There will also be plenty of live music and conversation there. Be sure to visit to register as space is limited. 

See you on Saturday!!

90 years of Oscar Peterson

Saturday, August 15, 2015

90 years. A professional legacy that will never be duplicated, and a personal one that will never be forgotten. I grow more and more proud as each day passes, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to witness the magic that my Dad left in this world. But as mesmerizing as that is, there will never be anything that will top the magic he left me with personally, and I can only hope that I continue to make him proud as I continue my journey and set out to accomplish new goals. Thanks for everything, Dad! Today we celebrate YOU! 

My Picks During Summer Music Festival Season

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Not that anyone asked, but I figured with festival season about to begin, I'd share with you some of my favourite places to hang out during this time of year as well as some shows on the schedule this year that you won't want to miss! If anybody happens to take my suggestions to heart, be sure to tweet me and let me know you're going! We just may run into each other :)

               TD Toronto International Jazz Festival

  • June 18th: Oscar Peterson 90th Birthday Celebration: The Oscar Peterson Quartet with Ulf Wakenius and Alvin Queen featuring Robi Botos on piano with special guest, Christian McBride! (My full post on this HERE)
  • June 19th & 20th: Renee Rosnes Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 21st: The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Directed by Scotty Barnhart w. guest vocalist Carmen Bradford. Details HERE!
  • June 23rd: Christian McBride Big Band! Details HERE!
  • June 24th: An Evening With Branford Marsalis - Details HERE!
  • June 25th: Whitney Ross-Barris - Details HERE!
  • June 24th: John Pizzarelli Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 19th & 26th: Dee Dee & The Dirty Martini's - Details HERE!
  • June 26th & 27th: Jackie Richardson and Friends - Details HERE!
  • June 26th & 27th: Freddy Cole Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 27th: JazzFM91 Youth Big Band - Details HERE!
  • June 19th, 20th, & 28th: Heather Bambrick & Friends - Details HERE!
  • June 29th: Jamie Cullum at Koerner Hall! Details HERE!

             Rochester International Jazz Festival

  • June 19th: Diana Krall at Eastman Theatre - Details HERE!
  • June 19th: Cecile McLorin Salvant - Details HERE!
  • June 20th: Benny Green Trio - Details HERE!
  • June 21st: Benny Green Solo - Details HERE!
  • June 21st & 22nd: Jane Bunnett & Maqueque - Details HERE!
  • June 23rd: Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra - Details HERE!
  • June 25th: Bill Charlap - Details HERE!
  • June 25th: Stanley Clarke Band - Details HERE!
  • June 27th: Renee Rosnes - Details HERE!
  • June 27th: Champian Fulton - Details HERE!
  • June 27th: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue - Details HERE!

           Ravinia Festival

  • June 19th: Alan Cumming - Details HERE!
  • July 8th: Bobby McFerrin Conducts Gershwin's Porgy and Bess - Details HERE!
  • July 11th: Aretha Franklin - Details HERE!
  • July 26th: Play It Again, Marvin! A Marvin Hamlisch Celebration - Details HERE!
  • August 7th: Harry Connick Jr. - Details HERE!
  • August 8th: Ramsey Lewis - Details HERE!

             Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

  • June 27th: Alfredo Rodriguez Trio - Details HERE!
  • June 27th: The Stanley Clarke Band - Details HERE!
  • June 28th & 29th: Christian Scott Quintet - Details HERE!
  • June 28th: Robert Glasper Trio - Details HERE!
  • June 28th: Molly Johnson: Because of Billie - Details HERE!
  • June 29th: Erykah Badu - Details HERE!
  • June 30th: Wayne Shorter - Details HERE!
  • June 30th: Brandi Disterheft - Details HERE!
  • July 1st: Jamie Cullum - Details HERE!
  • July 2nd & 3rd: Russell Malone Quartet - Details HERE!
  • July 2nd: John Pizzarelli - Details HERE!
  • July 3rd: Dee Dee Bridgewater - Details HERE!
  • July 4th: Jim Doxas Trio - Details HERE!
  • July 5th: Oliver Jones Presents Pianos Caméléons w. Matt Herskowitz, John Roney, and Julie Lamontagne - Details HERE!

               *Details coming soon

             Ottawa Jazz Festival

  • June 19th: The Soul Rebels - Details HERE!
  • June 20th: The Roots - Details HERE!
  • June 21st: Renee Rosnes Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 22nd: Tower of Power - Details HERE!
  • June 23rd: Robi Botos with Seamus Blake - Details HERE!
  • June 23rd: An Evening with Branford Marsalis - Details HERE!
  • June 24th: The Stanley Clarke Band - Details HERE!
  • June 30th: Jamie Cullum - Details HERE!
  • July 1st: The Heavyweights Brass Band - Details HERE!

                 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

  • June 19th: Buddy Guy - Details HERE!
  • June 22nd: The Stanley Clarke Band - Details HERE!
  • June 22nd: Renee Rosnes Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 23rd: Erykah Badu - Details HERE!
  • June 26th & 27th: Jimmy Heath Quartet - Details HERE!
  • June 30th: The Roots - Details HERE!

Full schedules of some of my favourites artists are available below:

Robi Botos
Paul Marinaro
Benny Green
Heavyweights Brass Band
Renee Rosnes
Monty Alexander
Ulf Wakenius
Bill Charlap
Jim Clayton
Justin Kauflin
Michael Kaeshammer
Roy Hargrove
Roberta Gambarini
Jane Monheit

Music Monday: We Are One/Nous Sommes Unis

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This year marks the Coalition for Music Education's 11th annual Music Monday celebrations!

On Monday, May 4th tune in to the LIVE Music Monday webcast!! Stream begins at 12pm EDT.

Check out Connor Ross' Music Monday Anthem
"We Are One"


Come join in the conversation with us by following The Coalition for Music Education on Twitter and tweeting using the hashtag #MMWeAreOne
I will be tweeting leading up to the celebrations so if you're not following me, come join in the conversation with me! Tell me you came from the blog and I'l be sure to follow you! FOLLOW CÉLINE ON TWITTER!

If you're participating in Music Monday, make sure to register your event with us! CLICK HERE!!
You can also look at the Music Monday Map to see all the different places participating this year. 

You can also download the Music Monday poster in both French and English (seen below) by clicking HERE!!!!

Keep On Keepin' On: A Special Presentation in Honour of Clark Terry

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On May 11th, The Bloor Cinema (in partnership with Mervon Mehta) are presenting "Keep On Keepin' On: An Evening in Honour of Clark Terry". Mervon invited my Mother, Kelly Peterson, and myself to be a part of a post-screening Q&A and we are thrilled that Justin Kauflin will be joining us! 

The film follows the story of the friendship & mentorship between Justin & Clark Terry as well as outlining their life stories. If yo have not yet seen this film, please take the time to do so. This is one of those documentaries that needs to be seen no matter who you are or what your field of interest is. It will change you perspective on life. The link for tickets to this special screening on May 11th is below as well as more information on where you can see the film if you are not in the Toronto area - but for those of you who are, we look forward to seeing you on May 11th!!!! 

Keep On Keepin' On

Get the Soundtrack:

A 90th Birthday Celebration w. The Oscar Peterson Quartet!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hi friends!

This past week, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival announced their 2015 summer line-up, and with that came some exciting news for our family.

Thanks to Patrick Taylor and Josh Grossman, the Oscar Peterson Quartet will be playing Toronto once again! Veteran members Ulf Wakenius and Alvin Queen will be joined by the great Christian McBride on June 18th to celebrate Dad’s 90th birthday. Taking his seat at the piano will be our dear friend, powerhouse pianist Robi Botos! I am also happy to say that I will be acting as narrator for this special evening, and in-between music will be sharing personal photos as well as memories from my childhood, highlights from Dad’s career, and special behind-the-scenes moments from on the road.

Mom and I could not be more thrilled that this show is taking place and that these wonderful musicians are coming to celebrate Dad with an evening of music and memories. 

This show will sell out very fast so be sure to get your tickets now!

Robi Botos: Movin' Forward!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This is an exciting time! 
There are very few albums that I get excited about throughout the year. This is one of them! 
My good friend (and torture victim), the great Robi Botos is dropping his new album on March 24th, and let me tell you this is one that you MUST have in your collection. Traditional jazz, Hungarian gypsy music, classical, and funk are some of the vibes included in this album. Whatever your taste is, there is sure to be something for you on this record. 

Robi has always been one of my favourite artists and a person whom I consider to be one of the best piano players not just of our time, but someone who will one day be spoken of as a legend. Joined by Seamus Blake, Robert Hurst, and Jeff "Tain" Watts, Robi's sound is sure to blow you away. 

There are some great events coming up on release week! 

Pre-Order "Movin' Forward" NOW:

March 24th - ALBUM RELEASE!!!

March 26th - JazzFM91 Live-to-Air
 *Donate to JazzFM and receive tickets as a thank-you gift. Details:

March 26th - Album Release at Jazz Bistro (Toronto)

March 27th - Album Release at Upstairs Jazz Bar (Montréal)

March 28th - Album Release at The Jazz Room (Waterloo)

Clark Terry

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Update: Services for Clark will be held on Saturday February 28th at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, 10am. In lieu of flowers Gwen and the Terry family ask that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America "In Honor of Clark Terry". You can also leave your messages of love on Clark's website: 

Clark Terry was the definition of brilliant. He was one of the best people I’ve ever been privileged enough to know. I have grown up with the honour of knowing some of the greatest human beings in the world and Clark will always be at the top of that list. He was my Godfather, my friend, and my family. The ironic part of the pain so many around the world are feeling with the news of his passing, is that Clark never wanted anybody to be sad. He spent his life playing music to make people happy.

There will be many days of reflection coming up for myself and everyone who loved him so dearly. One of the first thoughts that came to my head was how thrilled I was that Keep On Keepin' On has had such a warm reception since it’s release and that Clark was able to witness that. His story is such an important one that needs to be told and shared with the world. Many people who knew his music, did not know his personal history. The film also gave those who were not familiar with his career, a chance to be introduced to his music through Clark Terry, the man.

For me personally, I will struggle with the fact that I won’t hear his voice. When my Dad passed, one of the hardest things for me was that I didn’t hear his voice anymore. To this day, that is one of the most difficult things to live with. Clark’s voice was always filled with love. His laugh was contagious. I felt comforted when I spoke to him. A simple “hey baby” was all I needed to turn a miserable day into a wonderful one. I took a comfort in knowing Uncle Clark was there. He still is. Just in a different way.

Clark Terry changed my world. He made it better. He made it brighter. He made it happier. Most importantly, he made it more beautiful. Throughout my entire life Clark and Gwen have shown me unconditional love and endless support. Gwen, myself and so many others are here for you now. Uncle Clark my love for you is never ending. Thank you for everything. I will carry you with me every day and because I know you would tell me to, I will Keep On Keepin’ On. - Céline Peterson

Exciting Projects!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Well hey there friends! It certainly has been a little while.

There are some very exciting things coming up over the next couple of weeks and I wanted to share them with you!

JazzFM 91.1 Radio Special!

A few years ago I hosted a half hour special paying tribute to Clark Terry. Tonight (Sunday Nov 2nd) at 11:30pm I am doing it again! I will be sharing some songs off my current playlist with you as well as playing an exclusive unreleased live Oscar Peterson track. So please, please, PLEASE tune in! It means a lot to me. Worldwide listeners can tune in online at WWW.JAZZ.FM

Here is the music I played on Sunday night! Click the links below to buy the music.

Please support these wonderful artists.

At Home with Oscar: New YouTube Series!

 Over at the Oscar Peterson Facebook Page we announced yesterday a brand new YouTube series, "At Home with Oscar". We bring you into the Peterson house right in front of OP's Bösendorfer Imperial where you will hear and see some of your favourite piano players performing special songs just for you! We are thrilled that this project has come to life and can't wait to share the results with you. Performances will go live every other Monday starting tomorrow, November 3rd. You want to be subscribed to Oscar Peterson Legacy on YouTube so that you are guaranteed not to miss an episode. You should also be following us on Facebook - you know, for good measure. 

Trailer for "At Home with Oscar"
**Update: The first episode is now LIVE!
Gerald Clayton, "Sunny Day GO"

"Keep On Keepin' On" is Returning to Toronto!

The critically acclaimed documentary from Alan Hicks, which showcases the beautiful friendship/mentorship between Clark Terry and his student, Justin Kauflin will return to the Hot Docs Cinema starting November 14th. This doc is very personal for me. Clark has been in my life since I was born and believe me when I say that he is one of the most special human beings on this earth. We al know that he is a legend in the music world but this film gives you an inside look into Clark's life and struggles over the last 5 years. His unbelievable and inspiring positivity is the staple in this film for me. You must see it while it's here. However, the opening night screening is on November 14th and is hosted by JazzFM. Ross Porter has invited me to take part in a special Q&A prior to the screening and I of course, said yes. So please come out to enjoy the film with us and say hi! But if you can't make it, be sure to catch another screening between the 14th and 26th.

"An Oscar Peterson Christmas VINYL RELEASE"

Concord records is releasing (for the first time EVER) "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" on Vinyl and we are hosting a release event at L'Atelier Grigorian on November 23rd in Toronto! Come join myself and my Mom with Dave Young and Lorne Lofsky and pick up your copy of the vinyl (or win one of the 10 will we will be giving away) and get it signed by Dave and Lorne! We will also be playing 3 unreleased tracks from the recording date all of which have Dad SINGING on them! You don't want to miss hearing those and this will be your only opportunity!

That's all I got for now folks! As I said, some very exciting things coming up over the next few weeks. Hopefully you're enjoying some of the new things we're doing and if there is something you want to see you can comment here or send me a tweet! ( Have a great week!

80 Years of Oliver Jones!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What can I say about the great Oliver Jones that hasn't already been said. The truth is, not much - but this is because anyone who has heard him play has said what a gift he has given us with his music, and everyone who knows him personally has shared how much they love him. That being said, I am going to share why I love him anyway. 

We all know that Oliver Jones is one of the greatest legends the music world has ever seen. He makes the piano sound more beautiful than can be imagined. What some people don't realize is that when you are watching him on stage, of course you are watching one of the greats interpret a melody like no one else can, but you are also watching the young kid who loves his instrument just have the time of his life up on stage.

I can remember getting more excited than usual whenever we would go to Montréal because I knew it meant that I'd get to see Uncle Ollie. Actually, I remember one specific time when I was very young where I was told we were going and I instantly got excited because I thought it meant a visit. But he was on tour in Europe at the time and I turned on my parents so quickly they didn't even recognize me. I adore him.

Ollie is someone that you always want to share your good news with. When he is speaking with you, he is genuinely interested in what you are saying. A word that best describes him would absolutely be "nurturer". Whenever someone is introduced to him they feel a sense of comfort. Very few people can make someone feel that comfortable in an instant. He takes you under his wing and it is as if you have known each other your whole life.

There is so much that I want to say about Ollie but all I can manage to say right now is thank you. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for being willing to dedicate your life to enriching the lives of those around you. Thank you for giving me a spot in your heart. Thank you for your music. Thank you for being you. 80 years of Oliver Jones means 80 years that the world has been smiling. Happy Birthday dear Uncle Ollie. May your birthday bring you all the happiness you have given us and more. I love you.

Sharing my last birthday with this special man.

Mural dedication courtesy of MU in Montréal. Lionel-Groulx and Georges-Vanier.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

My life is and always will be unique. I grew up in a lifestyle unlike any other. I was lucky enough to experience things that I could not even begin to imagine in my head. With all that said, I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing. I just do what feels right and I do what makes me happy. Sometimes I am overcome by the fact that I feel I need to do things because they are what other people want from me or because they will make someone else happy. Other times I don't give a damn. At 23 I am happier than I have ever been. I get nervous very easily, confused regularly, frustrated often, and scared that I am making mistakes. But I am still happy. What prompted this? Well to be perfectly honest it was my seeing the bigger picture thanks to a friend. A friend who is the complete opposite of everything I want to be in life. I really needed this huge dose of reality and ironically, it took someone who is not seeing anything even remotely realistic at all to give it to me. I am very grateful to this friend (who will be too oblivious to realize I am talking about them) for helping me get here. So this is me at 23. No idea where I'm going tomorrow, but I know where I am today and what I want at this moment...a peanut butter sandwich. That's just right now really - down the line I'll want something a little more stable. Actually, scratch that. Honestly, what is more stable than a peanut butter sandwich? Nothing I tell you!
Oh, and if you're still reading are you dedicated and loyal! Thanks  I love you Mom!!!

Photo is courtesy of my dear friend, Tracey Nolan!!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good day one and all!

A few days ago my Mother and I were challenged to pour ice and freezing cold water over our heads to bring awareness to ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease research. If we chose not to complete the challenge we had to donate $100. We, as I know other people have, did both. Simple.

What is not simple is how outraged people have become over this challenge. I won't stop on the subject of how ridiculous I think that is, but I will say that I am happy something as simple as pouring bucket of ice on your head has brought people's attention to a disease I'm sure most of them have never heard of. If you hear someone speaking about Lou Gehrig's Disease, then maybe. But ALS? Probably not. I, like others, know that there are a good chunk of people out there doing the ice bucket but not having a clue why. That's unfortunate, but that's how the world works. Some people just don't take the time to get all the information, and others just don't care. But so many people do. Last year the ALS Association raised $1.9 million dollars from July 29th-August 19th. This year during that same time period, they raised 22.9 million dollars. Did you read that number? Read it again: 22.9 MILLION DOLLARS. Yes. The silly notion of pouring ice over your head caused someone to research this and donate. Imagine.

I think it's wonderful. There is very little that I can do as a non-doctor, non-scientist, non-researcher sitting on my couch at home. But donating money to a very worthy cause and dumping ice over my head for the entertainment of others is definitely something I can do. So I did.

I saw this video on Facebook thanks to my friend Louisa. If you would like to witness the most real and honest ice bucket challenge out there, then please watch. Take a few minutes out of your day and watch as someone who was recently diagnosed with ALS not only does the challenge, but explains why it is the furthest thing from silly. Then after that, you can scroll down a little further and watch my Mother and I pour the ice over each other's heads. I enjoyed putting my Mother through that a little more than I should have. Now after you've gone through the process of reading this, and watching those videos, please donate. WWW.ALSA.ORG!! They need all the financial support they can get and for most of us, that is all we can do. So please give what you can.

60 Seconds With Hillary Clinton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I had nothing to do yesterday, which as of late is a very rare occurrence. So I was taking that opportunity to finish the spring cleaning that I started weeks ago. At 1:45pm I was taking a break with my friend Facebook and I noticed that Tracey Nolan posted saying there were still wristbands left for the Hillary Clinton signing taking place at Indigo downtown. Before I passed out, I managed to message her for a second opinion on whether or not I would make it down there from where I lived in time to get a wristband.

I ultimately decided to just take a chance and see what happens. Thus begins what seems like the craziest journey I've ever been on. I grabbed the first non-pyjama type shirt I saw and threw it on and then the first pair of pants next to it. As I was running down to the garage to get in my car, I realized that the pants didn't feel right. It may have had something to do with the fact that they were on inside-out. Of course they were. No time to deal with that now so I got in my car, turned it on, and saw that I had NO GAS! Of course I didn't. So I stopped at the gas station and went right in-front of someone (sorry dude!), which I'm sure karma will bring back to me at some point.

With my car gassed up and ready to go I headed downtown. I managed to get there quicker than you would on a Sunday night at 4am. I scared myself. As I pulled up by the store to go and park I saw a line that went down the block, around the corner, and all the way down the other block. Awesome. The next question was "did these people all have wristbands?" Luckily for me, they did. So I parked and ran upstairs into the store and I'm sure the poor cashier I obtained the wristband from was scared of the crazy girl saying "please tell me you have wristbands left!"

Once I received my wristband I felt that immediate feeling of relief as I was walking downstairs and outside to go wait in line with everybody else. The first part of the wait was in the shade, which was nice because it was quite relaxing. While waiting in line I had a phone call with my brother (who though I was insane), my friend (who was debating whether or not to come and get a book signed while laughing at the fact that I put on dirty inside-out pants to meet Hillary Clinton), and my banker who only heard "bad timing" from my end of the phone.

Then I met two really lovely people with me in line and we proceeded to have great and interesting conversation while we waited together. Aside from meeting the former Secretary of State, that was the coolest part of this experience for me. We were all waiting in line with only slightly different versions of the same story in terms of our reasoning but all coming from different places. Even though we really didn't end up waiting nearly as long as we thought we would, the time definitely went by quicker with kind people to talk to.

Once we got into the store and just as I was approaching her, I did what I think most people do. I went blank. I had no idea what to say to a woman whom I admired as much as I do her. Do I tell her I'm a dual citizen and I hope to be able to vote for her in a few years? Do I thank her for coming to Toronto? Do I just say hello and thank you then walk away? How much time will I have? Those and many other thoughts took over my head until finally it was my turn.

I stepped up on the riser and smiled at her. "Thank you for coming to Toronto. Your influence is of course worldwide, but as a dual citizen I am so happy to see you in our city." "Oh how kind. Well thank you for coming!"

I was ecstatic. What an incredibly nice woman. People always talk about how cold politicians are and that the only reason they seem nice is because they are trained in how to handle these kinds of events. While I think that is to true a certain extent and completely accurate for some people, I also believe in genuine politicians and the fact that you can see real kindness in someone. I felt that yesterday. It was a once in a lifetime experience and it did not disappoint.

One other thing I really have to touch on is the establishment itself yesterday and their setup. I have attended my fair share of in-store events at Indigo in various cities but especially their flagship in Toronto. Aside from attending them, my Father had one in summer of 2002 when his book, A Jazz Odyssey, was released. I have never had a negative experience but today was beyond my wildest expectations. They were running that store and controlling the crowd like it was absolutely nothing. Their staff remained as friendly as ever and even the security people were kind and not at all pushy. If you had a question, anyone you asked that worked for that store was qualified to answer and did so with a smile. You knew where you had to go, if they needed you to do something you were asked politely, and not for one second did anyone complain about anything. Aside from that, they had the line moving very quickly. I thought I was going to be there all afternoon and from the time I stepped in the line to the moment I was handed my book was only one hour and thirty five minutes. I really commend them for the way they arranged and ran this event. I'm sure it took an unbelievable amount of work but they really pulled it off without a hitch of any kind and I am more impressed than I have ever been. Thank you!

All-in-all it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience. I am very glad I was able to do this and I came home with a signed book for my Mom. If Hillary Clinton is doing a signing in your area (especially at an Indigo) make sure you go. I can promise you that it will be worth it.

Until next time!

Father's Day

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Every day I grow older and learn something new, I become more and more grateful for the 16 years of lessons that my Dad taught me. Thank you and I love you. Happy Father's Day.

"My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." - Jim Valvano

International Jazz Day 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

On April 30th 2014, the 3rd annual International Jazz Day events took place all over the world. While the main celebrations were taking place this year in Osaka, there were multiple events in various cities worldwide. In Copenhagen, my friend Niels Lan Doky was hosting a full day of content at his club, The Standard. Along with performances there was also a panel discussing a variety of different jazz-related subjects. Niels asked me if I would contribute a talk via video to be shown as part of the panel. So I sat down in-front of my camera and shared a few thoughts with you.

I decided today to upload the video to my YouTube channel for those who either missed the live stream or did not know this was happening. So feel free to watch and then share your opinions on what I had to say. This is the first time that I have ever publicly shared my opinions on the state of jazz today and I know that there are many people who will probably disagree with me. Either way, give it a watch and let me know your thoughts.

Eventually I will be posting more on that channel so be sure to subscribe to be notified whenever I upload new content. It will be very different every time so make sure you don't miss out. 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend! 

Oscar Peterson's Tribute to Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - "The Viking"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

*After Uncle Niels' passing, Dad wrote the following tribute and published it to his website. In my opinion it is one of the most honest and genuine pieces of writing that I have ever read. With Niels' birthday coming up I thought sharing this would help us remember not only his talent, but what an incredible a man he was. We miss you. -Céline

My heart is heavy and yet grateful and happy. Heavy with the realization that Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen has left this earth; happy with the thought that this gifted brother and fellow musician did not suffer with a delayed departure filled with pain and remorse.

From the first night that my dear friend Audrey Genovese of Chicago played a Dexter Gordon record that featured Niels Pedersen on bass, I realized that this musical giant and I might someday have the pleasure and occasion of not just meeting, but also playing together. After hearing this phenomenal talent on bass, I realized that somehow, someday we should meet, thereby giving me the opportunity to also play with him. This vision and thought took place in the early 1970s, when I was fortunate enough to be able to invite him to join my then trio. This came about due to the fact that the bassist I was using at that time could not return to his home country in Europe because he was worried that he would be interred by the Soviet Union, due to his behavior at some embassy function. Norman Granz entered the picture, and with his usual directional thinking, simply said, "Why don't you use Niels Pedersen?" for an upcoming concert that my group had in one of the then Iron Curtain countries. Norman contacted Niels and reached an agreement for him to do that one particular concert behind the Curtain, thereby alleviating any chance of political upheaval. I vividly remember Niels stepping in without any fanfare (or rehearsal) for that particular concert. This turned out to be a totally impromptu performance. I selected tunes that I had obtained an OK from Niels about, and believe it or not, we managed to have a wonderful performance that evening, filled with exciting spontaneity and musical searching into each other's jazz thinkings.

After the concert, I immediately thanked Niels and told him how much I enjoyed playing with him, even considering the unexpected spontaneity that we had to work through. The audience seemed to have really enjoyed the evening. The following day I called Norman and apparently was overly excited about the immediate cohesion that took place between Niels and myself the evening before. With his usual ad lib and spontaneous reaction, Norman simply said, "If it was that good to play with him, why don't you use him as your regular bassist?" Needless to say, I am happy that this took place, and Niels has remained in my group until his recent unfortunate passing. Allow me to express my reaction to his playing this way: first and foremost, he never got in my way, but in reality virtually had such a great musical perception of what I was trying to do that he served to greatly inspire me from a spontaneous aspect. I came off walking on Cloud 3000 that evening because of Niels' musical contribution. He had the most phenomenal technique, coupled with incredible harmonic perception, along with impeccable time. I shall never forget that evening. 

Almost from that evening on, we became very close friends, not just musically but most certainly personally, for I developed a great admiration for the depth of Niels' political, geographical and personal understandings. He was a man that had an almost unbelievable wealth of historic cognizance pertaining to European history. He also had a very kindred spirit as a human being, always able to easily make good friends, should he care to do so. People in general that got to know Niels the man, grew to love him apart from his unbelievable musical talent and dexterity on his instrument. I think I can afford to make this kind of evaluation of him, for I have had the good fortune to have played with some of the other great bassists in jazz over time. I used to marvel at the respect and love (and almost musical fear) that I saw in some of jazz's best bassists whenever they were around Niels. One point that I must make here that perhaps is not known by many people, is that Niels could also play the piano (many times sitting in for me in the pre-concert sound checks). I know he had a great love for the piano, which we saw when on a visit to the Boesendorfer piano showroom, he was lovingly impressed with the Boesendorfer grand that I eventually picked out as my own choice.

Over time, I dubbed (and announced him) as The Viking. He seemed to enjoy this title, and for some reason it stuck to him. 

I have had the opportunity of having played with and used some of jazz's best bassists (ie. Sam Jones, Major Holley, and of course Ray Brown). Niels and Ray became fast friends and had a great love and respect for each other. This may seem odd in that they were basically both operating in the same musical medium. I can now say, though I have been asked numerous times before, which of the two I preferred. I can easily answer that query by saying I would have been equally happy for whichever of the two were part of my group at the time. I see no reason to go into some of the musical idiosyncrasies of either of these great players, but I can say that individually they have left an indestructible path and indelible guidelines for all of the future bassists of jazz. Niels-Henning was a player of unbelievable talent and dexterity, but selfishly speaking, personally, he became my closest friend and brother, and I shall never forget him or his talent. God bless you, Niels, and may you brighten up the musical world in Heaven as you have done on this earth. - Oscar Peterson, April 2005

Chocolate Cherry Bars (and the best batter...EVER!!!)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pinterest and I have a relationship that will forever last. Nothing can break us. NOTHING! These cookie bars are the thing that solidified that fact. I pinned the recipe for this beauties a few weeks back and in light of attending a dear friend's Oscar gathering last night (list below of who I would share these with and who would be snubbed from the gooey chocolate cherry awesomeness) I decided that was the perfect time to bust out these bad boys.

The original recipe can be found here (Averie Cooks - awesome site!) but I did make a few adjustments and have experimented with different versions of these bars, which all have been just to die for.

First off, the important thing to take from the recipe is just the base of the batter. Egg, flour, sugar, and melted butter. That's it. No, really. That's IT! The first batch I made are the ones that are pictured. I used mini chocolate chips and fresh cherries (halved) with the addition of vanilla extract and salt as stated in the recipe. Turned out great and I was completely satisfied. 

The second time I made them I decided I wanted to use vanilla bean seeds instead of extract. What I did notice as soon as I put the beans in, is that the tiny bit of liquid that extract brings to this is very much needed. You will notice the dryness. So I added just a touch of water and decided next time I want to add vanilla bean seeds I will mix them with that small amount of water and then incorporate it. All the flavour with the help of the liquid. Perfect. This version was also chocolate and cherries.

The third instalment in this series of tests was an unbelievable success and will be making an appearance at Mardi Gras tomorrow. The original batter but without any vanilla and I added my favourite baking friend, Butter-Almond Emulsion courtesy of Lorann Professional Kitchen. But wait, it gets better! Instead of dark chocolate and cherries I added white chocolate and almond slices (I do NOT do macadamia nuts so get over it and move on). I can't even describe what this smelled like. It was heaven. Smellivision has to happen soon (come on Apple!) so I can share this. It was beyond my wildest imagination. So this is what I recommend you try immediately!

There are many other things I think this batter would be good for. From what I have seen this is a great basis to endless baking possibilities. Any type of cookie or bar that you like will work with this recipe. Give it a try with some dried fruits. Maybe some candied ginger? That would give these a cool taste if you mixed them with something else fitting. Try other kinds of fruit. They cook just enough in the oven that you will get a nice juicy texture from them but they won't bleed out into your bar and make it mushy. The bar itself (if cooked properly) is consistently crunchy on the top and then completely chewy in the centre. This why I think the recipe is listed as a blondie but I am going to go ahead an call it a cookie bar. 

So have fun with these babies. They are definitely worth trying and take no time whatsoever to prepare! So have fun and pin your pictures because chances are I will find them without even looking. 

Have a great week and hopefully everyone is taking part in Mardi Gras celebrations!

Hilary Kole

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When we are little our parents teach us to always tell the truth. We are also taught that anything worth having is worth working for. That saying is true whether you're a kid and you want a video game, or if you are a singer and you want a successful music career.

Lately I have been witnessing what I will go ahead and call the downward spiral of someone who seemingly had it all. I struggled with whether to not to write this post because I really don't want to give her more attention than she has already gotten off of my family, but since she wants it so badly I figured hey, why not. 

It is no secret that over the last few years Hilary Kole has been spending more time filing legal documents and attempting to publicly shame people for no apparent reason than she has actually performing. If you google her name instead of music coming up (which is what you would think musicians would want you to see first) you get articles about her many lawsuits with her ex, her attempt at media sympathy, and now the fact that she just lost a copyright lawsuit with both my father's estate and Jayarvee Inc. 

Normally I would not care what some Diana Krall wannabe is doing to publicly embarrass herself (because this is something you see all the time in every genre of music) but the problem this time is that she has been trying since the day my Dad died to have an association with him to further her career. I completely understand the appeal. He was the best. Having the opportunity to work with him is something that musicians all over the world wish they had. What I don't understand is why you would blatantly take advantage of someone who was genuinely being nice and doing a favour for his friend (Gianni Valenti) and attempt to use that to make yourself famous. By the way, I believe in shooting for the stars - but Diana Krall? That's a bit of a reach don't you think, Hilary?

I have bad news for her. If it were not for Gianni, Dad would never have recorded with her in the first place. I am being completely honest in saying that although she has a beautiful voice, she does not have the jazz chops that would bring him into the studio to work with her. That is a fact. There are many kinds of talent and she has a wonderful voice for cabaret but she is not and never will be a jazz singer.

What is even more disappointing about this woman is that she seems to forget on a daily basis that she has worked with some of the best musicians in this industry. Hank Jones, Monty Alexander, Dave Brubeck, Benny Green, Michel Legrand, Cedar Walton and so many more. I am insulted on the behalf of these men by the amount of disrespect she has shown them through all of this. Even though they are all separate from what she attempted to do to my Dad, she is professionally disrespecting any musician she has worked with by causing a scene like this. Basically she is showing that if she doesn't get her way she will strong-arm as many people as possible into pushing the issue whether it is right or wrong.

Throughout all of this I have not felt sorry for her. She did this to herself. I do feel sorry for her family who should be embarrassed, her team who has to try and clean up after her, and for the musicians that work with her. I think she should have a career considering she is a talented singer. I stated earlier that I do not think Jazz is her forte, but I do think she is a talented singer and could have a wonderful and rewarding career that she earned on her own merit. I would have said that even after all the personal insults to my family before this legal case. But now I think you would have to be crazy to work with her. Why would you put yourself in that situation? Look what could happen.

I know a lot of people who are aware of this case (especially her loyal fans) read the information she provided for her friends at the NY Daily News and thought that the Oscar Peterson Estate was bullying poor innocent Hilary Kole. Let me break this down for you:

- In 2006 while performing at Birdland, Dad's good friend, Gianni Valenti arranged at the end of the week for Dad to go into the studio and record with his then girlfriend, Hilary Kole. The session was arranged and together they recorded 4 songs that were meant to be kept as a personal memento of the occasion. There was no contract, no managerial involvement, and no talk of releasing these tracks in any way shape or form.

- In January of 2009 Hilary contacted Kelly Peterson to talk about releasing the tracks on her upcoming Duets album. Knowing that the tracks were never meant to be released, my Mother did not immediately say yes like Hilary wanted and said she needed time to think about it.

- Over the next months many discussions happened about which tracks she would consider, what could and could not be promoted and many other technicalities.

- The discussions fell apart over Hilary being unwilling to accept the terms of the deal. Had she accepted, she would have been able to use a song or two on her album and she would have been happy. She didn't 100% get her way so as expected, she threw a hissy fit, and the whole idea was scrapped.

- This resulted in the perishing of a friendship and no permission whatsoever to release those tracks in any way shape or form.

- In recent years I started hearing the tracks being played online through various radio shows during interviews Hilary was giving. She was contacted by my Mother to kindly stop doing what she does not have permission to do and she refused.

- In January of 2013 the tracks were played again on a radio show and Hilary sealed her fate. We sued her for ownership of all the takes of every track and one year later, we won.

That's right. We won. Hilary's lying under oath, changing her story, singing and crying in court, and her never-ending manipulation of every person around her did not get her what she wanted. Turns out that our parents were right in telling us to always tell the truth. A few thoughts come to my mind when I think of this case. The first of which being how sad this whole story is. I find it quite heartbreaking that this situation had to come to this. I was quite young when I first met Hilary and came to consider her almost like a sister. When all this was first happening I honestly did not understand why. I could not understand why someone I had come to trust implicitly would be doing this to my Mom, my Dad, and me. It didn't make sense.

Secondly I think of how hard I laugh every time I remember that she really thought she would be able to convince countless people that my Dad, after 60 years in this business, would go into the studio with no contract drawn up and record tracks to be released and then hand them over. He had a contract with Ella Fitzgerald so trust me Hilary, he would surely have a contract with you.

Lastly, the part of this that removes whatever ounce of sympathy I had for her in this situation. The fact that Hilary went into the studio to mix the tracks mere days after they had been recorded and decided for herself that Oscar Peterson was not playing his best therefore she would bring in another pianist (shoutout to Mike Renzi - can't wait to meet you and your ego) to fill in the gaps and play what she thought should have been played. Excuse me? Pardon? That's right. That was not something she was talking about to those radio stations while they were playing the tracks. She didn't say Hilary Kole and Oscar Peterson featuring Mike Renzi. No no. This was a secret. So if you did actually get to hear the tracks, you were not really hearing Oscar Peterson. You heard him on the intro and at the end but basically everything else you heard, was Mike Renzi. I am glad he doesn't have a problem fitting the giant head that told him he could play just as good (or in this case, better) as Oscar Peterson through doors!

To be honest there is not much else to say on this subject. The only reason I am writing this is because I am still in that rebellious 20-something stage and the fact that I have been forced to listen to "Why is your Mom bullying poor Hilary" has me sick. Enough is enough. What you just read is the truth. In my opinion Hilary should stop alienating the people who tried to be nice and help her and just stick to singing, which is what she loves. The evil bitterness act got old a long time ago and no one is paying attention. All that positive press you thought you were giving yourself should stop now. Just live your life. Play shows, engage with your fans, and be thankful that you have been given a lovely voice and be happy for the experiences you had. If you can't do that, then I really do feel sorry for you because the years you have left in your life will never truly be happy ones. I have a wonderful life ahead of me and I don't have to manipulate or backstab anyone to get that happiness. Why don't you try it. 

My Top 12 Albums of All Time...Kind of.

Friday, February 21, 2014

There has been this tag going around on Facebook where everyone lists their top 12 albums of all time. I wasn't going to do it as I was so interested in seeing other people's lists but then I just decided to bite the bullet and try. I don't think it is an overreaction on my part to say that this is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I knew it would be hard but I had no idea the panic, sweat and anxiety that this would bring for something that is supposed to be fun. Somehow I (barely) made it through and posted it on my Facebook. I decided to share it here as well but with a few minor changes. Somewhere around 13 changes. The addition of 13 more albums. Here we go!

1. Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown
2. Monty Alexander - Goin' Yard
3. U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
4. Roy Hargrove Quintet - Earfood
5. André Previn & LSO - The Nutcracker
6. The Who - Who's Next
7. Stevie Wonder - With a Song in my Heart
8. Benny Green and Russell Malone - Jazz at the Bistro
9. Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
10. Judy Garland - Judy at Carnegie Hall
11. Singers Unlimted - Christmas
12. Oscar Peterson - With Respect to Nat

13. Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
14. Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie - A Classy Pair
15. Brandi Carlile - Brandi Carlile
16. Harry Belafonte - Belafonte at Carnegie Hall
17. Jamie Cullum - Pointless Nostalgic
18. Frank Sinatra - The Concert Sinatra
19. Audrey Morris - Film Noir
20. Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra - Live at Orchestra Hall
21. The Beatles - Meet The Beatles!
22. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Natty Dread
23. Nat King Cole - Ramblin' Rose
24. Diana Krall - Glad Rag Doll
25. Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - This is All I Ask

So there you have it. My top 25 albums (in no particular order! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!) of all time. If you haven't already tried this then stop laughing at what you think is an over exaggeration of frustration and get to work. You will quickly realize this is not easy. If it is then you don't listen to enough music. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

It's 2014 and There's Almond Milk!

Monday, January 6, 2014

I can't decide whether the funniest part (to me) about putting up this post is that no one knew I make my own almond milk or that once they found out they challenged me on the lack of skill necessary to complete this task. So for all of my lovely friends out there and people who are just curious as to the process of making your own delicious almond milk, here you go!

This isn't even a recipe so I will not present it as such. It's unbelievably basic. It's 2+ days but really only 5-7 minutes of your time. The one thing you need to know is that the ratio is twice as much water as almonds. That's it. No really, that's all you need to know. The first step is taking your almonds, measuring them out (kind of... just figure that your hand is maybe a half a cup), throwing them in a bowl and adding twice as much water (enough to completely submerge them). Then put it in the corner and don't look at it for two days. Seriously. Step away from the almonds. Don't even cover them. LEAVE THEM ALONE! What happens here is that you lose all the rough and tough in the almonds (technical terms people) and they gain moisture and expand a little bit. This makes for really smooth and creamy almond milk. So the longer you leave them, the creamier your milk will be. I usually go 2-3 days but if you are really impatient, overnight is fine. But don't complain to me when your milk is not as smooth and luscious!

Once the time has passed, drain the water and put the almonds in a blender with (again) twice as much cold water as you have almonds. Put that thing on liquify and let it do it's thing. Mine is timed so when it's as smooth as it will get it turns off. If yours doesn't do that then go maybe 2-3 minutes. What you will have is a gritty porridge-like nasty looking substance. Fear not! We can save this. Take your strainer that you have lined with cheese cloth (spend the $1 on the cheesecloth - believe me you want it) and pour the milk over it into a bowl...SLOWLY! You can work the milk through with a spatula at first but then just get in there and straight up squeeze out all the milk through the cheesecloth.

That's it! See how easy that was? Annoying isn't it? Truly one of the most simple things you can do in a kitchen. So you can leave it as is and just enjoy in whichever way you use your milk products or you can take it a step further. You can flavour this in whatever way you want. In the photo below are some examples if you are not one for the taste of the plain milk or if you are making this for a child. Mess around with it and see which flavours you like best.

Here is the key in all of this. This almond milk as it stands is only good for two days or so. So don't go over board with 6 cups of almonds and 12 cups of water because you cannot drink that much in two days! You can however make this last longer by heading over to your stove and pasteurizing it. I don't do that step because that is one of the main reasons I don't buy almond milk to begin with. This is the real deal. It's completely up to you. I'm sure you can find out how to pasteurize using our friend, Google so if that's what you want then that is your next step. 

That's all I've got for you! As I said, this is simple. For those of you who have skipped to the bottom of this post looking for directions, Bazinga!! Head back up and read this through. Just do it. 

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year! I had a very relaxed night in with my friend where we enjoyed some wine, talked a lot, baked cookies, and attempted (and failed) to sit through The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann I am so very disappointed in you. 

2014 has some exciting things in store. I have some really fun things planned for the blog as well as a fun announcement that will come at the end of this week (but if you follow me on Twitter then you already know what it is!) I am just excited for some incredible opportunities that have come my way and I plan on being all over the place this year. So get excited! Or don't...whatever. You doubted me on Almond Milk! Who does that?

Happy New Year!

If you can't see the flavours: Agave Nectar, Almond Flavouring, Vanilla Beans, Vanilla Bean Paste, Honey, and Chocolate.