The distinguished and elegant Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist who was trained in the European classical tradition. This short video of Mr. Peterson explaining styles of jazz piano is a gem. All told, the video provides six examples of jazz piano.
- Stride (Art Tatum)
- Two-Fingered Percussiveness (Nat King Cole)
- Lyric Octaves (Errol Garner)
- Relaxed Block Chords (George Shearing)
- Double Octave Melody Lines
As for Peterson’s own style, here’s how it's described in A Natural History of the Piano by Stuart Isacoff:
“The Peterson style was always characterized by rapid, graceful, blues-tinged melody lines unfurled in long, weaving phrases with the inexorable logic of an epic narrative; and, equally important, a visceral sense of rhythm, transmitted with fire and snap. Those qualities for which he was renowned — effortless fluidity and clockwork precision — were not merely aspects of his playing; they were the very foundation on which his artistic expression rested. And pulling them off required the highest level of athletic prowess.”