Pettiford - "..the tempos were ungodly."

"The first thing that impressed me was that the tempos were ungodly. I mean Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach were two of the strongest rhythm players I'd ever played with at that time, and Max still is. Oscar would get annoyed if we played "Bebop" [sings introduction very rapidly]--if we played in that tempo and didn't give him a solo--now, most bass players they'd say, "Well, look, man, I've been playin' four behind you guys all these choruses. Let the drummer take it." But he said, "Look, you played on it. I'll play on it, too." Until he broke his arm, playing ball with Woody Herman, he really had just unbelievable strength in terms of playing tempos and playing tremendously fast passages on the bass violin. But everything he did, fast, slow, medium, whatever, had the extension of what Blanton did. Blanton had started this melodic approach, which was perhaps more closely related to Charlie Christian and earlier players, but Pettiford's work was plugged right into Dizzy and Bird. That's right where he was coming from; the same kind of drive, the same kind of melodic impetus that stemmed from that rhythmic security."

BILLY TAYLOR from Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s

Come see my tribute to Oscar Pettiford:

October 28 - 830p
Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, NY
Twitter: @RockwoodNYC
Facebook: @Rockwood Music Hall

Pick up the CD: