Oscar Pettiford was deeply entrenched in the 52nd street Jazz scene in the 1940’s and 50’s. Alongside Minton’s playhouse in Harlem, Clubs on 52nd street such as 21 Club, the Onyx, and Kelly’s Stable among others became ground zero for the formation and dissemination of Bebop.
Budd Johnson, “Oscar Pettiford contributed much to this music. Most all of those tunes that we played on 52nd Street when I worked with Diz, damned near half of them were Oscar's tunes. He was writing tunes every day. "Hey, Budd. Put this down. Put this down. Put this down." 'Cause he couldn't notate it on paper, so a lot of that happened that way. A lot of that happened with Monk. I used to put down things for Monk. That was back in the 52nd Street days.”
Trummy Young, “On 52nd Street I remember getting into several fights trying to help Oscar Pettiford because it seemed like he had a nose for trouble, and guys used to look for him that weren't musicians, and I got beat up two or three times, fooling with Oscar and trying to help him. And once a bunch of sailors were going to beat him up, and Dizzy and I both got beat up trying to help him on this occasion. On the subway. Oh, Lord. I can tell you so many strange things that happened. So we started watching Oscar more carefully. We'd tell him, "No. Wait in the car." We wouldn't let him run right out after work, because he would always get into something.”
COME SEE MY TRIBUTE TO OSCAR PETTIFORD:
OSCALYPSO: Erik Friedlander, cello; Michael Blake, saxophone; Trevor Dunn, bass; Michael Sarin, drums.
Pick up the CD: