Oscar Pettiford

September 30, 1922 – September 8, 1960

Instrument bass
Birthplace Okmulgee, OK

Oscar Pettiford was one of the pioneers of bebop. Though mostly known as a bassist, he also was among the first to realize the potential of the cello as a jazz solo instrument. A regular at the early 1940s Harlem jam sessions that established bebop, Pettiford also played around this time with such swing greats as Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins.

In the '50s, Pettiford mostly led his own groups. He helped to launch the careers of Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and recorded three albums with Thelonious Monk including the classic "Brilliant Corners." In 1958 he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark.