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Local News: Jazz great Peterson needs a break from Canada Black Habits Articles By Cassandra Szklarski TORONTO (CP) - A friend of Oscar Peterson says he doubts the legendary jazz pianist will move away from Canada because of a recent incident involving hurtful taunts and slurs.

Peterson has said he's so disheartened by the episode that he's considering moving to the West Indies.

But friend and producer Scott Morin said he spoke with Peterson on Monday, after the incident, and believes that while the musician likely needs "a little break" from Canada, has no intention to leave his home.

"He's really upset right now and his emotions are getting the best of him but I don't think it's to the degree where Oscar's going to move permanently from Canada," Morin, of Peterson's record label Verve Music, said Tuesday.

"He's just really upset, really hurt by it. It's emotions talking."

Peterson, who lives in a quiet Mississauga suburb with his wife Kelly and daughter Celine, reported over the weekend that insults were hurled at his family home. He has not said what the slurs were or referred to.

Morin said the remarks included swearing and mentioned Peterson by name, adding that Peterson did not disclose the insults to him.

"I think that he's taken this to heart very deeply. I think he'd like to take a little break, perhaps. He spends a lot of time in Barbados, has a lot of friends there, really enjoys his time there."

Peterson, who was born in Montreal, is already scheduled to leave the country in two weeks.

He is set to perform at New York's Birdland, and then spend a week in Seattle at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. Those performances will be followed by an appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in California.

He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

"He's on tour anyways in a couple weeks, so I think it'll give him a chance to clear his head a little bit from all of this negativity," Morin said.

After a 50-year career in music, Peterson is regarded as one of the world's greatest jazz pianists.

Among his many accolades are a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1997, an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award and entry into several halls of fame.

He is also immortalized on a Canadian stamp, and in 1984 was made a companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian achievement.

Morin said the incident has riled the jazz community. An online Canadian jazz message board was abuzz with the news, he said.

"We were all talking about it, talking about what we can do to stop this kind of a thing and I told Oscar I'd be there with a baseball bat if he needed me."

Ross Porter, president and CEO of Toronto's Jazz FM 91, said "it would be tragic" for Peterson to leave Canada."

"He's one of the reasons I'm proud to be a Canadian," added Porter. "I think he's a national treasure that is highly regarded by all who know his importanceā€
Posted on Wednesday, August 02 @ 09:51:18 UTC by jcohen

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