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Oscar Peterson Trio’s ‘Night Train’ And D.O.A.’s ‘Hardcore 81’ Receive 2019 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize Designation

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The Polaris Music Prize has announced Oscar Peterson Trio’s Night Train and D.O.A.’s Hardcore 81 albums have received 2019 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize designation.

D.O.A.’s genre-defining hardcore punk album from 1981 was chosen over 11 other nominated albums in the Re:Sound-supported Heritage Prize public voting category, which ran this year from September 17 to October 18. This marks the first time a British Columbia artist has won the Heritage Prize. The Oscar Peterson Trio’s 1963 album by the legendary jazz pianist was selected by a 10-member Polaris Heritage Prize jury made up of music media and historians.

“Congratulations to these two winning artists. You’ve created important memorable recordings that have had a lasting impact on the musical landscape. I have tremendous appreciation for the work that has gone into creating these timeless albums,” said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of Slaight Communications.

The winners appreciated that these albums remain so relevant with the jury and the public decades after their initial releases.

“I am elated with the news that Oscar’s seminal recording, Night Train, is receiving the Polaris Heritage Prize. How deeply honoured I am on Oscar’s behalf, knowing how humbled he would be to realize this recording remains significant more than 65 years after its release,” said Kelly Peterson, Oscar’s widow and artistic producer for the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival. “It’s especially gratifying because this record contains the absolute original version of what is perhaps his most significant composition. During the recording session, Norman Granz challenged Oscar to compose a piece on the spot. The result was ‘Hymn To Freedom.’ My gratitude for this honour knows no bounds. Thank you to all involved with the Polaris Heritage Prize.” 

“It’s pretty cool for D.O.A. and our fans to have Hardcore 81 recognized by Polaris. When it was released, we never realized that this album would give birth to the hardcore music genre and make an impact around the world,” said D.O.A.’s Joey ‘Shithead’ Keithley. “So this is an amazing moment for us.”

D.O.A. and the Oscar Peterson Trio now join a list of past Heritage Prize winners which include the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Alanis Morissette, Peaches, Glenn Gould, Dream Warriors and Harmonium.

“Re:Sound is proud to sponsor the Polaris Heritage Prize for the third consecutive year,” said Ian MacKay, Re:Sound’s president. “By spanning numerous decades and musical genres and incorporating both the jury and the public’s selections, we see winners who reflect Canada’s diverse and dynamic musical history. The shortlist and winners reinforce why we do the work we do to help build a thriving and sustainable music industry in Canada.”

Like the Polaris Music Prize, winners and nominees for the Heritage Prize are Canadian albums of the artistic distinction, without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity. This is the Polaris version of a hall of fame where we try to determine who would have been nominated or won the Prize before it began in 2006.

The Office of Gilbert Li, who curated the 2019 Polaris Music Prize posters and the posters for the 2018 Heritage Prize winners, will once again select the visual artists who’ll pay tribute to the two winning records in the form of Polaris Posters.

Mary Dickie was the jury foreperson. The 2019 Polaris Heritage Prize jury included Stephen Cooke, Del Cowie, Francella Fiallos, Stuart Henderson, Bob Klanac, Valerie Lessard, Trevor Risk, Tabbasum Siddiqui and Andrea Warner. 

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