The pianist Oscar Lopez has a bad rap.
And it’s getting worse.
In an essay for the American Scholar, the jazz legend wrote: “I’m not just saying that because I don’t think he’s a great pianist.
I think he lacks self-control.”
Lopez, a longtime friend of the late singer/songwriter Irving Berlin, also took aim at the late composer Robert Hunter, whose “In a Lonely Place” and “Tender is the Night” won Oscars for best jazz compositions in 1956 and 1956 respectively.
The first was the composer’s first album, and the second a jazz masterpiece.
The Nobel Prize-winning jazz musician said he thought Hunter was the most talented pianist he had ever known, but he was also a “miserable, bitter person.”
Lincoln Center President and CEO Joel Klein told The Associated Press that the essay was “incendiary” and he called on the pianists who won Oscars to take “the full measure of their accomplishments and their reputations.”
“It’s the responsibility of all of us as artists and as artists of the future to take responsibility for ourselves and to do everything in our power to honor and to respect our predecessors,” Klein said.
Hunter, whose career spanned six decades and included a number of albums and other works, died Tuesday at his home in Tennessee.
His body was transported to Nashville, where he was buried.
In a statement, he said he was “devastated by the tragic loss of my friend Oscar.”
“We all have the capacity to be great, and Oscar was one of the greatest, if not the greatest.
He was a great teacher, a great writer, a magnificent pianist and a true master of the art of music,” Hunter’s daughter, Kristin Hunter, said in a statement.
“He will be missed by many.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.