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JAZZ CORNER Presents: Oscar Pettiford & Attila Zoller - The Legendary Oscar Pettiford Featuring Attilla Zoller (1959/1975)

Man-o-Man... there’s one sure way to know that you love a record, and that’s instantly wanting more as soon as it’s over. Case in point, this 1959 gem from cellist and bassist Oscar Pettiford, sounding for all the world like a Joan Miro painting come to life, swinging ever so gracefully and warmly, refusing to knock you back, yet smoothly holding your attention like a loving parent lulling a child to sleep... and more, to dream.

Dying young, and often overlooked, the man is a virtual who’s who when it comes to artists he’s played with. Yet ask nearly any jazz aficionado for a top ten, or even a top twenty-five list, and I seriously doubt that Oscar Pettiford will be among them. And that’s a down right shame. Certainly one could make the argument that bassists don’t gain the attention or notoriety, they seldom have scorching solos, or manifest a demanding stage presence, nor does their instrument get the respect it deserves. Most people only think of baselines as holding down the foundations of the rhythm, an aspect that merely moves the music forward, relying on more well known instruments to shine and command the adulation. But you need to forget all of those concepts, you need to spin on your heels, you need to hear Oscar lay down solid lines of brilliant eloquence and a musical movement that any musician would aspire to. 

In a word, this album is “understated” and “brilliant”. Alright, that’s two words, and I would love to write thousands, anything to get you to hear this quiet restrained masterpiece, where a true genius does so much more with so much less. Had Oscar’s life not been so short, we might find him rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ray Brown or Milt Hinton... but the truth of the matter is that we have been graced with mere moments of music from this great artist. So please, don’t miss a single one of them.

And as to a partial list of artist he’s played with, consider Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, Charlie Christian, Gil Evans, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Woody Herman, Coleman Hawkins, Ray Charles, Stan Getz, Lucky Thompson, Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, John Coltrane, Sonny Stitt, Julius Watkins, Ben Webster, Sammy Price, Ruby Braff, Mel Powell, Ellis Larkins, Max Roach, Shelly Manne, Billie Holiday, Red Norvo, Clifford Brown, Buddy De Franco, Phineas Newborn, Kai Winding, Roy Eldridge, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton, Don Byas, Clyde Hart, Earl Hines, Budd Johnson, Joe Thomas, Pee Wee Russell, Jimmy Giuffre, Martial Solal, Attlia Zoller, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Billy Eckstine, Cozy Cole, Shadow Wilson, Charlie Shavers, Johnny Hodges, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Ed Hall, Lawrence Brown, Sonny Greer, Maxine Sullivan, Dick Hyman, Eddie Bert, Joe Derise, Ike Quebec, Jonah Jones, Buck Clayton, Helen Humes, Benny Harris, Boyd Raeburn, Serge Chaloff, Howard McGhee, Sir Charles Thompson, Wynonie Harris, Vic Dickenson, Red Rodney, Tal Farlow, Denzil Best, Jo Jones, Leo Parker, Al Haig, Al Hibbler, Nat Pierce, Bill Harris, Howard McGhee, J.J. Johnson, Art Taylor, Wynton Kelly, Lockjaw Davis, Jackie McLean, Kenny Clarke, Dave McKenna, Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Chris Connor, Hank Jones, Earl Coleman, Thad Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Donald Byrd, Billy Taylor, Chuck Wayne, Roy Haynes, Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, Al Cohn, Frank Wess, Jimmy Cleveland, Barry Galbraith, Joe Morello, Joe Wilder, Harry Lookofsky, Jimmy Jones, Urbie Green, Ernie Royal, Herbie Mann, George Barnes, Clark Terry, Dave Schildkraut, Helen Merrill, Jimmy Raney, Horace Silver, Doug Mettome, Quincy Jones, Duke Jordan, Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Cecil Payne, Toots Thielmans, Red Garland.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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