Monday, December 24, 2007

Farewell Paul Yeskel and Oscar Peterson

I was driving in upstate New York the other day and a number popped into my head. I couldn't remember who it belonged to. It was 679-9111. If you are reading this post about Paul Yeskel, you might recognize that number. I just realized it was his, with deja vu/weird memories induced by having just read that he died yesterday in his sleep at 56 from undetermined causes. I'm very sorry to hear this news and send my sympathy his brother Dave and the rest of the family. I worked (but mostly hung at events) with both of them over the years, most recently last year's Who concert at Madison Square Garden and the wonderful Island Records reunion Patrick Jordan and Julie Sherwood threw last March. He was a classic rock guy and that's about the best thing you can be.

The songs are played out because they are good and Paul Yeskel helped get a lot of good songs played. I wonder if anyone reading this can name a few he promoted with a story or two. Radio promotion is a dying art and Paul Yeskel was great at it. Good offspring with the Syndicate kids and the legendary Kim White especially. Respect and farewell to Paul Yeskel and Oscar Peterson, who obviously had something to do with music too.

I feel like when I saw Oscar Peterson he was smiling a lot. I saw him at Steppingstone Park in Great Neck and maybe on Blue Note's 50th at Carnegie Hall. He played so many shows, so many notes. Pretty mind boggling to think of all those people, the joy he brought. It had to have been mostly through live shows but Oscar Peterson must have had some big albums too. I'm glad I got to see him. He played very, very fast with a lot of melody and taste. And he had the classic name of Oscar.

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