I'm An Overly Sensitive Daughter of A Legend...

...therefore any opinion I have on anything music based is invalid. At least according to a lot of people with very small minds and their own insecurity issues. 

I'm not going to lie and say that I am conservative or quiet in my opinions because that is just not true (and my friends will read this and call me on it so I don't need that). But I am very selective when I make less than complimentary public opinions about musicians, artists of any kind, of musical events. For some reason when I do this, there is always at least one person (if not more) that decides to throw the "you just feel this way because you're Oscar Peterson's daughter" card into the mix. What? I'm sorry. Say again? "Well you know that this doesn't have anything to do with Oscar?" Yes. Yes I do. I didn't bring him up. Actually, YOU did. "No one can touch his legacy so you have nothing to worry about." THANKS. I didn't know that. Just kidding. I did. And I wasn't worried. 

So. A few things here. The first being that everyone is entitled to their opinion. So INVALIDATING mine because of my last name makes you an ass. Even if my opinion was tainted, it would still be a valid opinion. That is the beauty of the word. ACTUALLY, here - allow me to help out anyone who is confused: 

So. There's that. Next, I find it absolutely hilarious that any single person at any point in my existence would ever feel the need to tell me that no one can touch my Dad's legacy (or any combination of words that have the same meaning). Newsflash: I KNOW. I knew that years ago, and it will be true for years to come. So that settles that. But what that doesn't settle is the fact that people with brains smaller than an edamame bean seem to think that every time I have a less than complimentary opinion of an artist, or a musical event, that secretly I am just worried about my Dad's legacy being threatened. 

Now that I've recovered from that laughter, let's really think about this. What does it actually say about the fact that someone would tell me I am being over-sensitive about a musical situation because of my background? That tells me that YOU, the person in question, are being over-sensitive because of MY background. When someone feels the need to list off my Dad's accomplishments to me like I don't already know, it makes it hard for me to keep a straight face. Sometimes I do just start laughing! *see above*

I do understand that there are a lot of people out there who have unrealistic opinions or get angry very easily because they feel their accomplished loved ones are not being recognized in ways they should. That is not and never will be the case for me. When I see an artist get deserved recognition, my happiness is genuine. When I feel there was a better choice, I vocalize it. But I promise you, Dad has nothing to do with it. When I make a comment about a musical event that has nothing to do with Dad, and you don't necessarily agree with my opinion, do not bring him up. It has nothing to do with him (as some would probably tell me), so leave him out of it. Just say you disagree with me. We are allowed to disagree with each other. That is one of the nice things about being an adult. I can disagree with someone and still live my life. I wish others had that same ability. 

So to sum up: 

Be kind to one another, people! 

ArtsGames: Rio Global Launch!

The ArtsGames are presenting their global launch on August 11th in Rio de Janeiro, and you can (and should) watch all the action *live*! 

For those who are unaware of what the ArtsGames are, here is a brief synopsis: "The ArtsGames Mission Statement is to provide a global platform to demonstrate the excellence that exists in all cultures." "The road to the ArtsGames began nearly 20 years ago when Sylvia Sweeney made a promise to her uncle, the legendary jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, to create events that would bring cultures together. After numerous events produced in Canada, Sylvia returned to her Olympian roots, staging events at the 1996 Atlanta, 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympiads. Over the years, she received guidance from members of the Olympic Committee who assisted Miss Sweeney and her team to develop this independent global competition. The ArtsGames demonstrates the excellence which exists in all cultures by staging these accessible competitions in five art forms. Selected competitors will each represent their nation and will be challenged to emulate the great artists  before them who dedicated their craft to the betterment of humanity." 

For more information, please visit www.artsgames.com

On August 11th, you can follow all the action of their launch event (which includes appearances from Sheila E., Dr. Oliver Jones, and more!) through their website. You also want to be sure to follow all their social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) for the most up-to-date news.

This is a project like no other. Something that was started by a simple statement from an Uncle to his Niece, and grew into a major global initiative. I am proud and honoured to have any small part in this project, and send my love to all involved who are currently in RIo running the show. To Sylvia, Jeff, Khephra, Deb, Peter, Gabrielle, Asa, and the entire ArtsGames team, congratulations. Heres to the future! Let's do this. 


Jimmy Greene: Beautiful Life. Road to the 2016 Grammy Awards!

On December 14th, 2012, a sick and deranged man opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. 20 young, innocent, and incredibly precious lives were taken in an instant. Among the victims was 6 year old Ana Marquez-Greene. Ana is the daughter of Saxophone player, Jimmy Greene. Of course my heart immediately breaks when something like this occurs in our world (which is far too often, yet nothing seems to change), but when this tragedy came to someone I was very familiar with thanks to my musical circle, it felt different. 

In November of 2014, Jimmy released his spectacular record, "Beautiful Life" in tribute to his beautiful daughter, Ana. He collaborated with some incredible musicians and vocalists on this album, including Kenny Barron, Kurt Elling, and Renee Rosnes. With this recording, Jimmy proves what I always knew to be true, which is the real power and strength that music carries. When you listen to this record, you can hear the message that Jimmy is sending not just to Ana, but to the world. You can feel the strength that was put into the creation of this one of a kind project. The love is undeniable. There is no better tribute that could have been created not only for Ana, but for the other children who lost their lives that day, and the families that are learning how to survive in this world without them. Today, Jimmy's "Beautiful Life" is nominated for TWO Grammy Awards! 

I have always been more than proud to be a part of the community and family I am. The Jazz community around the globe has been incredibly kind to me over the years, and the people that I grew up with that came from this incredible circle, are the most supportive and loving family that I could personally ever ask for. This proved to be true once again when the Greene family's tragedy came to light. This is what the world needs. Every single person affected by tragedy needs to know that they are not alone in their pain. I saw Jimmy's record as a message of support for every other victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and their families. Through his own pain, he let created something that has brought comfort and peace to countless people. It has been magical to watch.

In an interview with CBC, Jimmy said: "Ana was a little girl who loved life and she loved who she was. She was able to … connect people and be friends with people from many different backgrounds," Greene said. "On the album you see the diversity of musical contributions kind of mirrors that aspect of her life." I feel there is nothing more that needs to be said.

Tonight, I will be cheering Jimmy on in hopes that he will take home the Grammy Awards in *both* categories that he is nominated in. But regardless, I feel it is important that he knows what an impact his creation has had on our world. The message and music is universal. His story? Endlessly powerful. With respect, admiration, and love, I will be wearing my Miss Ana Grace bracelet (as I do every day), and sending positive vibes to the Greene family. Please visit The Ana Grace Project website and Facebook page for more information on the work they are doing. You can get Jimmy Greene's "Beautiful Life" album by clicking HERE, and more information on the Miss Ana Grace bracelet can be found HERE.

King's Playlist, Jazz Fo Yo Soul, and MUSIC MONDAY 2016!!! #MMC2C

WELL. MY GOODNESS. WHERE DO I BEGIN!? Let me get the massive news out of the way first: I'm hosting this year's Music Monday celebrations live in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square!!! For a quick rundown of #MMC2C, click HERE!!! More info will be down below.


Next, a musical event that I have been talking about for the last two weeks since I found out about it. The incomparable Andrew Craig has put together an incredible show showcasing the powerful words and music from the Civil Rights Movement. Andrew has put together some incredible shows over his career. This past December, he celebrated the 10th anniversary of his highly praised Gospel Christmas Project, and almost exactly one year ago and in partnership with Culchahworks Arts Collective (who are also presenting King's Playlist), Andrew premiered "Global Marley: A 70th Birthday Concert to Celebrate Bob's Worldwide Legacy". This Saturday, you do not want to miss "King's Playlist: Songs of the Civil Rights Movement", with some Canada's greatest musical talent. For last minute tickets, CLICK HERE


JAZZ FO YO SOUL! I'm thrilled to be joining my friend, Scott Morin, on his radio show Jazz Fo Yo Soul! on Monday, February 22nd, as we celebrate Black History Month with 90 minutes of Dad's music and conversation. For my Toronto locals, tune in from 7:30-9am and join us! Visit Jazz Fo Yo Soul! on Facebook!

On Monday, February 22nd, in celebration of Black History Month, Jazz Fo Yo Soul! host, Scott Morin, will be playing 90 minutes of music from the greatest African Canadian artist of them all, Dr. Oscar Peterson.  Scott was honoured to Produce Oscar’s last album and DVD for Verve Records, the Juno nominated ‘A Night in Vienna’, and has a collection of hundreds of Oscar Peterson albums and unreleased gems.  As a very special honour, Scott will be co-curating the playlist with Oscar’s daughter, Céline Peterson.  They will also be talking together for the hour of 6:00 - 7:00 am MST, discussing some of Oscar’s compositions and their relationship to the civil rights movement and to the message of race and equality for all.  Of course, Oscar’s influential composition Hymn to Freedom will be played, and Scott will speak with Céline about the importance of this song - the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement.

Join Scott, Céline Peterson, and the music of Oscar Peterson on Jazz Fo Yo Soul!  Monday, February 22nd from 5:30 - 7:00 am MST on 90.9 FM in Calgary, or worldwide on www.cjsw.com!

As I said at the beginning of this post, I am completely honoured to be serving as your host for this year's Music Monday celebrations in Toronto. I have enjoyed participating in Music Monday for the last few years thanks to Holly Nimmons and everyone at Music Makes Us, and this year I can't wait for May 2nd when #MMC2C is celebrated nationwide via a day-long webcast! Below are some highlights from the press release, but you can read the full thing HERE. Also, do not forget to REGISTER and participate in this year's Music Monday celebrations! Share the videos, use the hashtag (#MMC2C), and get your friends involved! Lets make this year the best year yet. Remember, WE ARE ONE! 

Music Monday is a signature program of the Coalition for Music Education.  It is Canada's nationwide celebration of the power of music in our lives, especially our schools. Music Monday is the only national celebration of music education that actively engages children and youth in their schools and communities. The first Monday in May (this year, May 2, 2016) music makers of all generations and genres gather in their schools and communities to make music, and at the same time during the day we join with one voice, by singing the official Music Monday anthem for a simultaneous nation-wide sing-along.

Music Monday – Coast2Coast Day-long Webcast
Music tells the stories of who we are. This year, The Coalition for Music Education introduces a new initiative: MMC2C. On May 2nd, the MMC2C initiative will air a webcast of curated videos that will show how music fills our culture in regions across Canada. This webcast will actively engage our young people to learn and make music. Participants across the country will be able to tune in to a full day of Music Monday video performances and messages at www.musicmonday.ca

2016 Music Monday Showcase concert
Following on last year's successful showcase events in Place des Arts, Montreal and the National Music Centre, Calgary, Music Monday 2016 will be led by a Showcase Concert to be webcast live from in front of Toronto's City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square. Hosted by Céline Peterson, this one-hour concert will feature special musical guests, including Music Monday Anthem composer Connor Ross, who will be joined by Youth4Music Ambassadors on the Showcase stage to lead the nation in a simultaneous sing-along of his song "We Are One".  Interested participants/volunteers can register by emailing info@musicmakesus.ca

Natalie Cole

My heart is very heavy upon learning that Natalie Cole has passed away. We all about what an incredible vocalist she is. Her music defined a generation and almost everybody could connect with her. I felt a connection for a different reason. Although we are on different roads professionally, we grew up daughters of men with a very powerful and specific legacy. Our Fathers were masters in their field. Music legends. My Father idolized her Father and throughout his whole career, carried with him the lessons he learned from Nat  both musically and personally. Throughout my entire childhood, Dad would always play Nat's albums for me and explain why what he was doing was beyond brilliant.


Natalie was always kind, generous, and welcoming to me. I appreciate and cherish every piece of advice she ever gave me. I can assure you that she will never truly know how her guidance and all the kind words she shared with me helped me to start to find my way in this world. She assured me that even when I feel pressure, that the only person I need to answer to is myself. I will always be Oscar Peterson's daughter, and Natalie Cole will always be the daughter of the great Nat King Cole. But she formed her own destiny and followed her own path. I am working to do the same.


Natalie, we will all miss you. Thank you for all that you have given us. I hope that you have now found peace. Sing on!


Christmas Wish for Kellylee Evans

A treasured member of our Canadian Jazz family needs your help this Holiday season. In just 12 hours, the beautiful people in our community and beyond have raised over $10,000 to help the wonderful Kellylee Evans as she recovers from not one, but two severe injuries, which have now left her indefinitely bedridden. Dear Kellylee is a single mother of three beautiful children, and a true gift to this world. She is truly one of the kindest, funniest, and most real human beings I have ever been privileged enough to be around in my life. During this season of giving, I ask you to please visit the GoFundMe page that was set up by her dear friend Amanda Martinez, and read more about Kellylee's story and consider making a small donation. Every little bit helps. While you're there, check out her music and get a little dose of the incredible voice and spirit that will never be silenced, no matter what obstacles come her way. Thank you all! Kellylee - We're with you, beauty! Merry Christmas!!! https://www.gofundme.com/y4g7tyf8



Oscar, With Love: Live in Toronto

CD Deluxe Set O-Card.jpg

Well. The time has FINALLY come that the world will get the chance to hear Oscar, With Love! After 3 years of hard work and dedication from the incredible team of people involved, we are just bursting with excitement knowing that one week from today, this music will be released and everyone will be able to hear it.



On top of that, we will be celebrating in Toronto with 8 of the artists from the record at our favourite music venue, Koerner Hall! This concert sold out very quickly, which left a lot of disappointed fans both in Toronto and around the globe. Well today, Mervon Mehta - Executive Director of Performing Arts at The Royal Conservatory - has announced that the concert will be live-streamed worldwide so that everyone will have the chance to be there. Kenny Barron, Robi Botos, Benny Green, Gerald Clayton, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, and Oliver Jones will be performing tracks exclusively from the album. This means that you will be able to experience Bill & Renee performing Sushi as a 4-hands, 1-piano duet live for the first time. You will also hear Benny Green's swingin' interpretation of Cool Walk, and Gerald Clayton's heart-stoping version of Hymn to Freedom. This evening will also include a post-intermission chat with Mervon Mehta and Jazz FM.91 President & CEO, Ross Porter. I am honoured to be on-hand as host that evening, and I can promise you that this will be an evening of music unlike any other.

Now, if you have not yet preordered your copy of the record, be sure to do so before Dec 11th! Not only is that the last day to order with guaranteed delivery prior to Christmas Eve, but that will be the last day to take advantage of the special "fan pricing" that we are currently offering. 

I can barely contain my excitement (for real - there is a solid chance I may burst before next Friday) and I cannot properly put into words how honoured I feel to have been present during this entire process. Nothing will ever come close to this experience in terms of how special it was for me. It was truly life altering, and as we come close to the beginning of a new year and Kelly and myself starting a new chapter, I am overcome with emotion and joy knowing that this project was able to go from a dream of my Mother's, to reality. Never forget that anything is possible. 

Now, let's do this! See you next Friday either in person or on the live-stream!!!

First Annual Youth4Music Leadership Symposium!

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 www.youth4music.ca/symposium to register as space is limited. 


See you on Saturday!!

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

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! 

90 Years of Oscar Peterson

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

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 :)

Click here for full post!

Music Monday: We Are One/Nous Sommes Unis

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.

We Are One ARRANGEMENTS: http://www.musicmonday.ca/arrangements/

We Are One TRANSLATIONS: http://www.musicmonday.ca/translations/

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

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!!!! 

Tickets: http://bit.ly/1JfcGYA

Keep On Keepin' On

iTunes: http://apple.co/1wlC7Q9

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Q1l5Ed


Get the Soundtrack: http://amzn.to/1O3e5bo

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1Ipz7tQ

Twitter: http://twitter.com/keepinonfilm

A 90th Birthday Celebration w. The Oscar Peterson Quartet

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!

Tickets: http://bit.ly/1H5oDkz

More info: http://bit.ly/1CZ5sTs

Robi Botos: Movin' Forward!

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: http://bit.ly/1wWegrW

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


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

Tickets: http://bit.ly/1aLOzFV

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


Follow Robi!

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1FYmLHJ

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobiBotos

Instagram: www.instagram.com/RobiBotos

YouTube: www.youtube.com/RobiBotos

Clark Terry

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: www.clarkterry.com/guestbook 

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

80 Years of Oliver Jones!

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.

To Mulgrew, With Love

My heart is very heavy today as I learned of the passing of the incomparable Mulgrew Miller.

Mulgrew, quite simply, was one of the best. I grew up being a fan of his music but it wasn't until I was 15 years old that I had the opportunity to meet him for the first time. He was truly one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. Extremely honest, funny, and true, Mulgrew always seemed to put others before him. The few times that I had the chance to meet him are some of the most memorable moments in my life.

This tight-knit jazz community knows how talented Mulgrew is. I have yet to meet a pianist (or musician for that matter) that has not listed him as one of their major influences. I was introduced to his music by my father. He spoke often about how beautiful Mulgrew's playing is and how he is "one of the good ones." I can only hope that going forward the new generations will continue to be influenced by Mulgrew's music and will be told stories about his personality and character that will inspire these young players to be the best musician and human being that they can be. No matter what field we are in, Mulgrew Miller is someone who's book we could all take a page from.

Recently Mulgrew was playing a show in a city close to where I live. My Mother and I got tickets to see him and I was extremely excited. Due to a back injury I was unable to go. I now sit here wishing I could turn back time and force myself to go to that show. This is of course one of those things that happens in life and you just have to live with it. I will continuously remember that I have been fortunate enough to see him when I did and my fond memories of these encounters will stay with me forever

If there is one thing I have learned growing up around members of the jazz community, it is that the musicians in this particular part of the music industry are truly like a family. At times, a dysfunctional one but a family nonetheless. When there are hard times people really come together to support each other. This special kind of hospitality is not limited to just within the musicians, but it is extended to the musician's family and friends. If there is one thing I can hope for through all of this it is that his wife Tanya and their family are greeted with all the love and support that they can possibly get during this devastating time. My musical family has always had a stronger bond with me than a lot of my blood family and I know that without the support of certain people around me, life would be a lot more complicated and I would be in a very different place. I truly hope that through all the support and love that Mulgrew's family will take even a small bit of comfort in knowing that they are not and will never be alone.

Dear Mulgrew, thank you for the gift of your music, your spirit, and your overwhelming kindness and generosity towards every single person that you met. You have left a mark on this earth that will only grow bigger with time. We all love you.

Claude Nobs

Claude Nobs was a visionary. He was the man responsible for one of the most important and historic festivals in jazz music. Accomplishing what he did will go unmatched in this industry especially today. Aside from his professional successes, he was an incredibly kind and warm human being. I had the honour of spending a little bit of time with him when I was younger and all I can remember was laughing, listening to music, and having fun.

Mr. Nobs was one of those people my Dad spoke of with nothing but respect and I know that is the case for anyone who knew him whether it was for years or just a brief moment in passing. My heart is heavy and my love goes out to his family, friends and colleagues. We will miss you. Thank you for everything.

The Honorable Lincoln M. Alexander, P.C, C.C - 1922-2012

Today is a very sad day. We lost a Canadian legend and for me, a personal hero. Lincoln Alexander was a staple in Canadian history. Not only was he the first Black MP, but he was one of our most beloved Lieutenant Governors. Being in the room with him was always an honor. His presence was overwhelming but within minutes he made me and everyone he encountered feel more comfortable. We could not be more grateful for the contribution he gave us as a country. Thank you Mr. Alexander. You will never be forgotten.