By the 1950s, Oscar Pettiford had already made a name for himself as a force in the bebop movement and was working as a bandleader. But when the bass legend first arrived in Germany in 1958, he was lauded even more than he could believe. His signature style and use of bass as a solo instrument was extremely popular with European audiences and led to plenty of touring and recording. Luckily, a new release, Lost Tapes Baden-Baden 1958/1959 captures this part of O.P.’s career.
Lost Tapes, which is taken from a set of recording dates from Baden-Baden, Germany, is an excellent portrayal of Pettiford’s diversity. The bassist recruited a rotating cast of musicians for the sessions and chose mostly standards as his launching point for soloing.
The album starts with a duet with trumpeter Dusko Goykovich on “But Not For Me” before introducing a full band on the Ellington tune, “Sophisticated Lady,” on which Pettiford delivers a meaningful solo. He also grabs his cello for an athletic version of “All the Things You Are.”
Pettiford died in 1960, shortly after these recordings were made and less than two years after settling in Europe. Lost Tapes offers a glimpse into O.P.’s most matured style, as well as the end of an era.
Lost Tapes Track List:
- Girl Crazy, Act II: But Not for Me
- Sophisticated Lady
- A Smooth One
- Minor plus A Major
- The Big Show: Poor Butterfly
- My Little Cello
- The Nearness of You
- Roberta: Yesterdays
- Very Warm of May: All the Things You Are
- Blues in the Closet
- Big Hassle
- All the things you are (Live)
- Blues in the Closet (Live)