Sadly, some have used this video as “proof” that Keith Emerson couldn’t improvise as a piano player. But listening to or watching him play live in most cases would prove that very wrong. I think he chose to let Oscar Peterson (one of his piano idols) do the improvising here because he believed that Oscar was the better piano player.
And as much as I love Keith, I can’t disagree with him. Oscar Peterson was another titan of the keys who seems, at least to me, to be criminally underrated. He, like Hazel Scott, is another piano player I think everyone should know, especially if you’re a fan of Keith’s.
Here, Keith Emerson and Oscar Peterson are joined by a band featuring a heavily disguised Carl Palmer on drums to play the song “Honky Tonk Train Blues”.