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Oscar Pettiford

  • Notes from an unamplified double bass rank among the most beautiful man-made sounds; in jazz, the creator of those notes is always in the middle of the action, charting the harmonic direction of a band and plotting the rhythmic narrative as both an accompanist and a soloist. It's no small task, but here are five musicians who performed the duty with aplomb.
  • Oscar Pettiford, a virtuoso bassist and composer who doubled on cello, first emerged as a virtuoso performer during the bebop moment. He would remain one of the most highly sought-after jazz musicians throughout his too-short career.