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Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

Oliver Jones.
Michael Slobodian
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Michael Slobodian
Oliver Jones.

Oliver Jones may be the most famous living jazz pianist you've never heard of. But in Canada, Jones is a hero — adored in his native Quebec and across the country for helping to build a vibrant jazz scene that can sustain the country's top musicians.

A serious talent and a tireless advocate for Canadian jazz, Jones is a champion for local musicians — a folk hero of sorts. You can find his images on the sides of buildings and on his very own postage stamp. He's also a serious talent with charisma and charm that's been winning over fans for years.

This week on Jazz Night In America, we'll introduce you to the 81-year-old ambassador for jazz — a former protege of another great Canadian pianist, Oscar Peterson. Here, Jones sits down with Peterson's daughter to discuss what jazz means to Canada and what Canada means to him.

Jones celebrated his retirement this year with a special sold-out trio performance at the Montreal Jazz festival. Jazz Night was there to bid him farewell.

Copyright 2021 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

Suraya Mohamed is a three-time Peabody Award-winning producer, sound designer and editor. She currently serves as the project manager for Jazz Night In America and is a contributing producer on the Alt.Latino podcast. She also produces NPR's holiday specials package, including Tinsel Tales, Hanukkah Lights, Toast Of The Nation, Pink Martini's Joy To The World: A Holiday Spectacular and most recently Hamilton: A Story Of US. You'll also find her work on the Tiny Desk series as either a producer or engineer.