Oscar Pettiford Lost Tapes: Baden-Baden 1958/1959 on 180g LP + Download
Original Concert Recordings Remastered
When Oscar Pettiford first arrived in Germany on September 29, 1958 with Jazz From Carnegie Hall, he might already have notched several big names into the neck of his bass. Duke Ellington had wanted Pettiford to join his band when the bassist was just 15, but the boy's father wouldn't agree to it. And at 17 he had wanted to join Cab Calloway's band, which performed in Minneapolis in 1939. Nothing came of that either.
Then in 1943 he finally made his studio recording debut with Coleman Hawkings - and before long Pettiford - along with Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach - were ushering in the bepop era, playing at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street just weeks before the breathtaking of Charles Christopher "Bird" Parker. After the untimely death of Jimmy Blanton, Duke finally signed Pettiford and O.P. spent four years playing with the band before joining Woody Herman's "Herd" for a year.
In 1950 he took to the stage a cello, having broken his arm, and plucked it like a double bass, only an octave higher. It marked the advent of a new instrument to the frenetic bop sound of the time. Everyone who worked with Pettiford enthused about his bold melodic ideas, the bounce and swing of his playing. Blanton and Pettiford's use of the bass as a solo instrument heralded the start of a new era that would see many bassists pioneer new styles of playing, including Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Ron Carter, Dave Holland - and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen.
The 1958 tour was a resounding success and Pettiford could scarcely believe the enthusiasm with which he, his colleagues and their new music were received in Europe. During his time in Stutthart he met Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who immediately persuaded him to come and record in Baden-Baden, enlisting the help of the finest soloists Europe had to offer at the time: Hans Koller and Attila Zoller, trumpeter Dusko Goykovich, pianist Hans Hammerschmid, and the flamboyent clarinettist Rolk Kuhn. Kenny Clarke and Lucky Thompson were brought in from Paris.
Between autumn 1958 and the summer of 1959 these sessions resulted in a set of unique recordings, standards mostly, which provided the alternating ensembles with a harmonic basis from which to launch into improvisation. Pettiford's duet with Goykovich on Gershwin's "But Not For Me" is brisk yet elegaic; Koller lays down a cool interpretation of "The Nearness of You," before letting the bass demonstrate its melodic power. And in "Atlantic," Pettiford uses his cello to safely manoeuvre the wind section of the SWF Big Band through the improvisations.
Oscar Pettiford (bass, cello)
Dusko Goykovich (trumpet)
Lucky Thompson (soprano saxophone)
Hans Hammerschmid (piano)
Hartwig Bartz (drums)
Rolf Kuhn (clarinet)
Jimmy Pratt (drums)
Hans Koller (tenor saxophone)
Attila Zoller (guitar)
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Helmut Brandt / Helmut Reinhardt / Johnny Feigl (bass)
Rudi Flierl (alto saxophone)
Oscar Pettiford Lost Tapes: Baden-Baden 1958/1959 Track Listing:
1. But Not For Me
2. Sophisticated Lady
3. A Smooth One
5. Minor Plus A Major
6. Poor Butterfly
8. My Little Cello
9. The Nearness of You