Nikkatsu Hotel, Tokyo, Nov. 3, 1953: Virtuoso pianist and composer Oscar Peterson mingles with members of the press and fans at the Jazz At The Philharmonic reception at the Nikkatsu Hotel, Tokyo. Peterson and several other jazz giants — including Ella Fitzgerald — were in Tokyo as part of Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic ensemble tour.
Called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, pianist Peterson would praise Granz for standing up for him and other black jazz musicians in the segregationist South in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s, insisting on equal wages and accommodations for his black musicians. As founder and promoter of the highly successful Jazz at the Philharmonic, and founder of several record labels (including Verve Records, home of the world's largest jazz catalogue), Granz was also manager for many jazz musicians, including Peterson.
Peterson would go on to win eight Grammy awards, release more than 200 recordings, and play thousands of concerts worldwide in his more than six decade long career.
Al Ricketts — Pacific’s (in)famous entertainment editor for 15 years and lover of jazz — wrote up the reception here. Find more of Al Ricketts’ entertaining (and sometimes scathing) reports on entertainment from 1952-1967 — including his long-running “On The Town” — in Pacific Stars and Stripes by subscribing to Stars and Stripes’ historic newspaper archive. We have digitized our 1948-1999 European and Pacific editions, as well as several of our WWII editions and made them available online through https://starsandstripes.newspaperarchive.com/
April is Jazz Appreciation Month and Stars and Stripes archives show decades worth of love for all the genre’s iterations by the paper’s editors, reporters and photographers. From covering the arrivals, parties and performances in the 1950s and 1960s of jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane to name just a few, to reviewing shows at the Tokyo location of the famed Keystone Korner jazz club in the early 1990s, our archives have it.