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Oscar Pettiford (30 September, 1922, Okmulgeemarker, Oklahomamarker, – 8 September, 1960 , Copenhagenmarker, Denmarkmarker) was an Americanmarker jazz double bassist, cellist and composer known particularly for his pioneering work in bebop.

Biography

Pettiford's mother was Choctaw and his father was half Cherokee and half African American. Like many people with African American and Native American ancestry, his Native heritage was not generally known except to a few close friends (which included David Amram).

He grew up playing in the family band in which he sang and danced before switching to piano at the age of 12 then to double bass when he was 14. He is quoted as say he did not like the way people were playing the bass so he developed his own way of doing it. Despite being admired by the likes of Milt Hinton at the age of 14 he gave up in 1941 as he did not believe he could make a living. He met Milt again after 5 months and he talked him back into music.

In 1942 he joined the Charlie Barnet band and in 1943 gained wider public attention after recording with Coleman Hawkins on his "The Man I Love." He also recorded with Earl Hines and Ben Webster around this time. He and Dizzy Gillespie led a bop group in 1943. In 1945 Pettiford went with Hawkins to California, where he appeared in The Crimson Canary, a mystery movie known for its jazz soundtrack. He then worked with Duke Ellington from 1945 to 1948 and for Woody Herman in 1949 before working mainly as a leader in the 1950s.

As a leader he inadvertently discovered Cannonball Adderley. After one of his musicians had tricked him into letting Adderley, an unknown music teacher, onto the stand, he had Adderley solo on a demanding piece, on which Adderley performed impressively.

Pettiford is considered the pioneer of the cello as a solo instrument in jazz music. He first played the cello as a practical joke on his band leader [Woody Herman] when he walked off stage during his solo spot and came back, unexpectedly with a cello and played on that. In 1949, after suffering a broken arm, Pettiford found it impossible to play his bass, so he experimented with a cello a friend had lent him. Tuning it in fourths, like a double bass, but one octave higher, Pettiford found it possible to perform during his rehabilitation (during which time his arm was in a sling) and made his first recordings with the instrument in 1950. The cello thus became his secondary instrument, and he continued to perform and record with it throughout the remainder of his career.

He recorded extensively during the 1950s for the Debut, Bethlehem and ABC Paramount labels among others, and for European companies after he moved to Copenhagenmarker in 1958. Along with his contemporary, Charles Mingus, Pettiford stands out as one of the most-recorded bass-playing bandleader/composers in jazz.

Discography

As leader



As sideman

  • The Birdlanders: Vol. 2 (OJC, 1954) with Kai Winding, Al Cohn, Tal Farlow Duke Jordan, Max Roach, Denzil Best
  • Sid Catlett; 1944-1946 (Classics)
  • Chris Connor & John Lewis Quartet: Chris Connor (Atlantic)
  • Miles Davis: The Musings Of Miles (Prestige)
  • Miles Davis: Miles Davis Volume 1/Miles Davis Volume 2 (Blue Note, 1952-54)
  • Kenny Dorham: Jazz Contrasts (OJC, 1957) Afro-Cuban (Blue Note, 1955)
  • Duke Ellington: Carnegie Hall Concert January 1946 (Prestige)
  • Duke Ellington: Carnegie Hall Concert December 1947 (Prestige) bzw. 1947-1948 (Classics), 1949-1950 (Classics), Great Times! (OJC, 1950) (enthält Perdido, Blues for Blanton)
  • Tal Farlow; Jazz Masters 41 (Verve 1955-58) bzw. Finest Hour (Verve, 1955-58)
  • Leonard Feather: 1937-1945 (Classics,1952-56)
  • Dizzy Gillespie: 1945 (Classics)
  • Urbie Green: East Coast Series Vol. 6 (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Jimmy Hamilton & The New York Jazz Quintet (Fresh Sound Rec.)
  • Coleman Hawkins: Rainbow Mist (Delmark, 1944), The Hawk Flies High (OJC, 1957)
  • Ernie Henry: Last Chorus (OJC, 1956-57)
  • Woody Herman: Keeper Of the Flame (Capitol, 1948-49)
  • Johnny Hodges: Caravan (Prestige, 1947-51)
  • Helen Humes;: 1927-1945 (Classics)
  • Lee Konitz / Warne Marsh Quintet (Atlantic, 1955)
  • Helen Merrill: with Clifford Brown & Gil Evans (Emarcy, 1954-56)
  • Thelonious Monk: The Unique, Brilliant Corners, Plays the Music Of Duke Ellington (Riverside/OJC)
  • Phineas Newborn: Here Is Phineas (Koch, 19569)
  • Leo Parker: Prestige First Sessions: Volume 1 (Prestige, 1950)
  • Max Roach: Deeds, Not Words (OJC, 1958)
  • Sonny Rollins: Freedom Suite (1958) auf The Essentuial S.R. on Riverside (1956-58)
  • Charle Rouse: Jazz Modes (Biograph, 1956)
  • Billy Strayhorn: Great Times! (OJC, 1950)
  • Art Tatum: The Art Of Tatum (ASV, 32-44)
  • Lucky Thompson: Accent On Tenor Sax (FSR, 1954)
  • George Wallington: The George Wallington Trios (OJC, 1952-53)


References

External links




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