I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the fact that a biographical documentary about the famous Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was made in a stenciled, completely uninventive way, at the level of an episode of a TV series. While the subtitle of “Black and White” not only suggests black and white keys on the piano, it was obviously an attempt to draw attention to the success of another black man in the white world. But when one thinks a little better, weren’t practically all these greatest jazz virtuosos who appeared in the middle of the last century black?
And narratively, director Barry Avrich put it together in a completely stenciled way: the order of the archive, the order of interviews with people who praise him and the order of the band that plays Peterson’s compositions in the studio.
All those who are at least somewhat familiar with the life of this famous jazz virtuoso will not learn anything new. There aren’t any interesting details that a more skilled or passionate director would probably catch and build an interesting story around, and this way everything remained completely dry with an almost classic presentation of facts from Wikipedia.
Obviously, the main intention of this documentary was to celebrate the character and work of this wonderful musician, about whom the A Guard of the still living jazz of the older generation, such as Herbie Hancock or Quincy Jones, tells the story of A Guardian as a role model and unsurpassed virtuoso. And it’s not bad because all similar biographical documentaries mostly come down to the same premise, but it’s really amazing how lukewarm this turned out to be. Rating 6.5 / 10.
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