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Morning Song – Oscalypso

October 17, 2015

As one of the handful of musicians—along with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Theolonius Monk, and Kenny Clarke— who more or less created bebop at Minton’s Playhouse in the early 1940s, Oscar Pettiford’s place in jazz history was already secure.

Then, as the story goes, while recuperating from a broken arm in the late ’40s, Pettiford started playing a restrung cello and fell in love with the instrument.

As NYC cellist Erik Friedlander notes on his soon-to-be-released tribute album, Oscalypso, “When I look to history for a role model, it’s Pettiford. Pettiford played the cello with such swing and melody. He was the first to lead a band from behind the cello. And he wrote original tunes, some of which are now classics. Pettiford had a special feel for the instrument — he even named his son Cello! He’s always been a hero of mine.

Here’s Pettiford—along with Duke Ellington on piano, Billy Strayhorn on celeste(!), Jo Jones on drums and Lloyd Trotman on bass—with the utterly original, inventive, clever and joyous “Oscalypso”.

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