“Benny Green was barely out of his teens when he began playing piano in the groups of Betty Carter and Art Blakey, two American music greats whose respective bands helped nurture dozens of future jazz greats.
By the time he was 29, Green’s formidable keyboard talents earned the attention of Oscar Peterson, whose reputation as the most virtuosic mainstream jazz pianist since Art Tatum was well-deserved. Peterson selected Green to be the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music.
This in turn led to their joint 1998 album, “Oscar & Benny.” Perhaps not by coincidence, Green had previously been featured on five albums by Ray Brown, the bass great who had anchored Peterson’s storied trio a few decades earlier. On a locally related note, Green’s 2013 album, “Magic Beans,” features the song “Harold Land,” named in honor of the late, great San Diego-bred jazz saxophone star.“
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San Diego Union Tribune