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Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (5.27.46-4.19.05)

Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen
Oscar Peterson

From the first night that my dear friend Audrey Genovese of Chicago played a Dexter Gordon record that featured Niels Pedersen on bass, I realized that this musical giant and I might someday have the pleasure and occasion of not just meeting but also playing together.

After hearing this phenomenal talent on bass, I realized that somehow, someday we should meet, thereby giving me the opportunity to also play with him. This vision and thought took place in the early 1970s, when I was fortunate enough to be able to invite him to join my then trio. This came about due to the fact that the bassist I was using at that time could not return to his home country in Europe because he was worried that he would be detained by the Soviet Union, due to his behavior at some embassy function. Norman Granz entered the picture and, with his usual directional thinking, simply said, “Why don’t you use Niels Pedersen?” for an upcoming concert that my group had in one of the then Iron Curtain countries.

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