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Oscar Pettiford

Oscar Pettiford first arrived in Germany in 1958 and could scarcely believe the enthusiasm with which his music was received. Not that he had ever been short  of success – even before Charlie Parker’s breakthrough he had been a bebop pioneer in his quintet with Dizzy Gillespie. This was the dawn of a new jazz era – one that heralded the bass as a solo instrument.

In Stuttgart, Pettiford met up with Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who invited him to studio recordings and enlisted the finest soloists Europe had to offer at the time: Hans Koller and Attila Zoller; Dusko Goykovich, Hans Hammerschmid, Rolf Kühn. Kenny Clarke and Lucky Thompson flew in from Paris. Everyone extolled his bold melodic ideas, the bounce and swing of his playing. Between autumn ‘58 and the summer of ‘59, the sessions resulted in historic recordings – standards, mostly, which  gave the alternating ensembles a harmonic orientation. Pettiford’s brisk but elegiac duo with Goykovich in Gershwin’s But Not For Me; gossamer-like, Lucky Thompson in Sophisticated Lady, followed by Koller with an über-cool interpretation of The Nearness Of You and a bass solo; then Pettiford shows his cello skills in All The Things You Are.

O.P. moved to Baden-Baden, later Copenhagen, touring and playing frenetically – like a man possessed. He died following a car accident in September 1960. His colleagues played charity concerts for Pettiford’s children, whose welfare had always been his primary concern – he himself had been one of fourteen brothers and sisters. 

Catalogue No.: 101719

1But Not For Me
2 Sophisticated Lady
3A Smooth One
5A Minor Plus A Major
6Poor Butterfly
8My Little Cello
9The Nearness Of You
11All The Things You Are
12Blues In The Closet
13Big Hassle
15All The Things You Are (alternate)
16Blues In The Closet (alternate)

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