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OnLinerNotes - JAZZ!
Oscar Pettiford - The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet - LP COVER

track 1. PENDULUM AT FALCON'S LAIR:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 2. TAMALPAIS LOVE SONG:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 3. JACK, THE FIELDSTALKER:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 4. FRU BRÜEL:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 5. STOCKHOLM SWEETNIN':
( Quincy Jones )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 6. LOW AND BEHOLD:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 7. I SUCCUMB TO TEMPTATION:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 8. CHICKASAW:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 9. BOP SCOTCH:
(Serge Chaloff)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 10. THE MOST:
(Al Cohn)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 11. CHASIN' THE BASS:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949


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Oscar Pettiford - The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet

track 1. PENDULUM AT FALCON'S LAIR:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 2. TAMALPAIS LOVE SONG:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 3. JACK, THE FIELDSTALKER:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 4. FRU BRÜEL:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 5. STOCKHOLM SWEETNIN':
( Quincy Jones )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 6. LOW AND BEHOLD:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 7. I SUCCUMB TO TEMPTATION:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 8. CHICKASAW:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 9. BOP SCOTCH:
(Serge Chaloff)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 10. THE MOST:
(Al Cohn)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 11. CHASIN' THE BASS:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

Get It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Oscar Pettiford - The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet

track 1. PENDULUM AT FALCON'S LAIR:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 2. TAMALPAIS LOVE SONG:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 3. JACK, THE FIELDSTALKER:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 4. FRU BRÜEL:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 5. STOCKHOLM SWEETNIN':
( Quincy Jones )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 6. LOW AND BEHOLD:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 7. I SUCCUMB TO TEMPTATION:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 8. CHICKASAW:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 9. BOP SCOTCH:
(Serge Chaloff)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 10. THE MOST:
(Al Cohn)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 11. CHASIN' THE BASS:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949


Get It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Oscar Pettiford - The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet

track 1. PENDULUM AT FALCON'S LAIR:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 2. TAMALPAIS LOVE SONG:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 3. JACK, THE FIELDSTALKER:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 4. FRU BRÜEL:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 5. STOCKHOLM SWEETNIN':
( Quincy Jones )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 6. LOW AND BEHOLD:
( Oscar Pettiford )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 7. I SUCCUMB TO TEMPTATION:
( Louis Hjulmand )

cello - OSCAR PETTIFORD
tenor sax - PHIL URSO
french horn - JULIUS WATKINS
piano - WALTER BISHOP & JAN JOHANSSON
bass - CHARLES MINGUS
drums - PERCY BRICE
vibes - LOUIS HJULMAND

in New York
on December 29, 1953

track 8. CHICKASAW:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 9. BOP SCOTCH:
(Serge Chaloff)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 10. THE MOST:
(Al Cohn)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949

track 11. CHASIN' THE BASS:
(Leonard Feather)

bass - OSCAR PETTIFORD
trumpet - RED RODNEY
trombone - EARL SWOPE
tenor sax - AL COHN
baritone sax - SERGE CHALOFF
piano - BARBARA CARROLL
vibes - TERRY GIBBS
drums - DENZIL BEST
arranger - SHORTY ROGERS

in New York
on March 10, 1949


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Oscar Pettiford - The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet


OnλinerNotes - JAZZ
Windsor - Canada
MMIII

The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet
Oscar Pettiford

    "...from one of the earliest bassists on the bebop scene in 1940s New York, Oscar Pettiford stirred up those fearless experimentation skills he has with instruments, mixed in some gourmet skills with composition, cooked for 44 mins and left us this 1953 presentation - bon appétit! ..."

Debut - Fantasy Records
[ OJCCD-1926-2 ]


producer - Leonard Feather

Original LP Liner Notes:

_____Oscar Pettiford (bio) needs no introduction to the jazz world where he holds the enviable reputation of bassist and cellist par excellence.

_____Born on an Indian reservation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on September 30, 1922, at 12:05 midnight (and still a stickler for detail!), Oscar Pettiford became a musician more of necessity than by choice. His father "Doc" Pettiford, a practicing veterinarian who had pursued music as a hobby, finally gave up the former for the more lucrative latter. With his wife, who taught music, and the six Pettifords who preceded Oscar (Leontine, Harry, Cecile, Ira, Margie, and Alonzo), he formed the "Doc Pettiford and His Family Orchestra" which toured throughout the Midwest. Although the entire family doubled on most of the instruments, no one played bass. Consequently, Oscar Pettiford was a natural for this instrument and briefly studied piano, guitar, and trombone before filling the much-needed bass chair.

_____Preferring medicine to music and feeling more of an inclination to become a doctor than a musician, when he was fourteen Oscar Pettiford tentatively expressed this desire to his father. Shocked at finding a traitor under his own roof, Doc not only denounced him as such but listed all the many reasons he should and would be a musician, driving such good advice home and into Oscar Pettiford's head with the aid of a well-aimed drumstick. Needless to say, Oscar Pettiford was convinced.

_____Somehow, between engagements, the family managed to spend enough time in Minneapolis for the children to complete their educations and today Oscar Pettiford always thinks of Minneapolis as "home." The family orchestra, including five more Pettifords who followed Oscar (Rosemary, Helen, Katherine, Alice, and Joseph), continued to play together until Doc Pettiford's death in 1943, at which time they disbanded.

_____After that, Oscar Pettiford began to make a name for himself with such bands as Charlie Barnet, Duke Ellington, and Woody Herman. In 1943, with Dizzy Gillespie, he formed the first modern jazz quintet to play what was later known as "bebop", and it was for this group that Oscar Pettiford first began to compose. His growing popularity was reflected in his winning of the Metronome and Esquire All-Star Awards for bassist in 1944 and 1945. Oscar Pettiford went to California with Coleman Hawkins, where he appeared in a motion picture, "The Crimson Canary". He then joined Duke Ellington, and was a featured soloist with the band until 1948 when he formed a trio with George Shearing and J.C. Heard which played for a long while at the 'Clique Club' (the present 'Birdland'). Shearing took over the trio when Oscar Pettiford left to join Woody Herman's herd for a nationwide concert tour. His stay with Woody was abruptly terminated in 1949 when he broke his arm playing softball with the band team.

_____While with Woody's band, Oscar Pettiford had once substituted a cello for his bass solo as a gag on Woody. The immediate response of the band and the audience convinced Oscar Pettiford of its great potentialities as a jazz instrument. Now that his arm was in a cast, Oscar Pettiford began to give a great deal of thought to writing expressly for cello and its development as a solo instrument in jazz. His work on cello with the various small groups under his leadership since 1950 is now a matter of music history.

_____With his new sextet, recorded for the first time in this album, Oscar Pettiford explores new possibilities in writing for French horn and tenor. This is especially notable in "Tamalpais", an enchanting ballad titled after a beautiful mountain near San Francisco, where the accent is on counterpoint between these two horns: the mountains portrayed by Julius Watkins (bio), the winds by Phil Urso (bio). Oscar Pettiford momentarily forsakes cello to play bass on this one composition.

_____The swinging "Pendulum" and romping "Fieldstalker" both show off fine cello by Oscar Pettiford. The pace is kept by Phil Urso's swinging tenor and Julius Watkins's nimbly-executed solo on French horn.

_____"Stockholm Sweetnin'", from the pen of Quincy Jones, provides a medium-jump tempo vehicle for Oscar Pettiford and the other soloists, with an interesting first chorus by Walter Bishop (bio) on piano leading into the blowing line.

_____"Low and Behold" is a real 'tradition piece' for Oscar Pettiford who is very much at home and at his blues swinging best here.

_____On these recordings with Oscar Pettiford is another formidable string man - Charles Mingus (bio) - who walks sure-footedly and solidly on these sides (except for "Tamalpais" on which Oscar Pettiford plays bass), kicking the rhythm section with his usual great bass and coming in for fine solo work on "Pendulum". Percy Brice on drums rounds out the rhythm complement. (...original December 1953 LP liner notes...)

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Oscar Pettiford: a bio
________Oscar Pettiford was (along with Charles Mingus) the top bassist of the 1945-1960 period, and the successor to the late Jimmy Blanton. In addition, he was the first major jazz soloist on the cello. A bop pioneer, it would have been very interesting to hear what Pettiford would have done during the avant-garde '60s if he had not died unexpectedly in 1960. After starting on piano, Oscar PettifordOscar Pettiford switched to bass when he was 14 and played in a family band. He played with Charlie Barnet's band in 1942 as one of two bassists (the other was Chubby Jackson) and then hit the big time in 1943, participating on Coleman Hawkins' famous "The Man I Love" session; he also recorded with Earl Hines and Ben Webster during this period.

________Oscar Pettiford co-led an early bop group with Dizzy Gillespie in 1944, and in 1945 went with Coleman Hawkins to the West Coast, appearing on one song in the film "The Crimson Canary" with Hawkins and Howard McGhee. Oscar Pettiford was part of Duke Ellington's orchestra during much of 1945-1948 (fulfilling his role as the next step beyond Jimmy Blanton), and worked with Woody Herman in 1949.

________Throughout the 1950s, he mostly worked as a leader (on bass and occasional cello), although he appeared on many records both as a sideman and a leader, including with Thelonious Monk in 1955-1956. After going to Europe in 1958, he settled in Copenhagen where he worked with local musicians, plus Stan Getz, Bud Powell, and Kenny Clarke. Among Oscar Pettiford's better-known compositions are "Tricotism", "Laverne Walk", "Bohemia After Dark", and "Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home". (...from Scott Yanow...)

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Julius Watkins: a bio
______Julius Watkins was born on October 10th, 1921 in Detroit and died on April 4th, 1977 in Short Hills, New Jersey. Julius Watkins was virtually the father of the jazz French horn. He started playing French horn at the age of nine, although he worked with The Ernie Fields Orchestra on trumpet (1943-1946). In the late '40s, he took some French horn solos on records by Kenny Clarke and Babs Gonzales, and spent 1949 as a member of the Milt Buckner big band. After three years of study at the Manhattan School of Music, Julius Watkins started appearing on small-group dates including a pair of notable sessions led by Thelonious Monk in 1953-1954. He co-led "Les Jazz Modes" with Charlie Rouse in 1956-1959; toured with Quincy Jones' big band (1959-1961); did plenty of studio work (including the Miles Davis-Gil Evans collaborations); and recorded with Charles Mingus (in 1965 and 1971), Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane (the Africa sessions), and The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, among many others. (...from Scott Yanow...)

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Phil Urso: a bio
______Phil Urso was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on October 2nd, 1925. Subtlety and restraint defined the playing of Phil Urso, a member of the 1950s' cool school who owed a strong artistic debt to Lester "Pres" Young but never came across as a clone of him. Phil Urso started out on clarinet, but the tenor sax became his primary instrument after he studied it in high school.

_____Though not that well-known, Phil Urso was a solid and expressive jazzman who played with Woody Herman, Jimmy Dorsey, Miles Davis, Terry Gibbs, Oscar Pettiford, and others in the 1950s. In 1954, he co-led a quintet with trombonist Bob Brookmeyer that recorded for Savoy®, but Phil Urso's best-known association came in 1955 and 1956, when he was a sideman for Chet Baker. Phil Urso was prominently featured on some of the trumpeter's Pacific Jazz® recordings of 1956, which make one wish he had become more visible instead of less so. But after the '50s, very little was heard about Phil Urso on a national level, although he did remain active in the jazz scene of his adopted home of Denver well into the 1990s. (...from Alex Henderson...)

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Walter Bishop: a bio
______Walter Bishop Jr. was born in Kingston, Jamaica on January 9th, 1905 and died in New York City on January 8th, 1984. When a man names his son after himself and affixes a "junior" at the end, the act is often done for a noble purpose, mainly to help discographers who are buried under mounds of information. Arbitrarily removing the "junior" from, say, the name of bebop pianist Walter Bishop Jr., and one is obviously left with just plain old "Walter Bishop", and that is the way his credit reads on a stack of Charlie Parker albums that is tall enough to block a lighthouse beam. The fellow who regarded himself as the real Walter Bishop was probably pleased, despite the resulting misidentification. After all, the pianist was his son, and the man sometimes known as Walter Bishop Sr. had introduced the tyke to jazz early on, watching him grow up amidst the likes of teenage friends such as tenor titan Sonny Rollins, piano prodigy Kenny Drew, and drum disciple Art Taylor. The resulting music, known as bebop, might not have been what dad had in mind, however.

_____Walter Bishop Sr. was an old-school swing drummer and songwriter most active in the '20s and '30s. He didn't seem to have that much impact behind the drum set, but did cut sides with the bands of Jabbo Smith and Alex Hill. As a composer his most famous number is "Swing, Brother Swing!", an anthem not only in the era when the swing style was an original novelty, but in several different swing revival epochs as well. Joe Jackson is among the contemporary performers who has covered the song, in his case during an attempt to introduce swing music during the height of the '80s new wave era. The older Bishop was Jamaican by birth and raising, and the music of his homeland was just as strong an influence as the various jazz currents in Harlem. He wrote many clever calypso-flavored numbers which have continued to have appeal. Singer Vanessa Rubin recorded Bishop Sr.'s "Sex Is a Misdemeanor" in 2001. Back when the tune was written, the songwriter enjoyed great popularity as well as the company of friends such as Fats Waller and Eubie Blake.

_____The family lived in Harlem's Sugar Hill neighborhood, and taking up almost permanent residence in the Bishop house was what has sometimes been described as 'a clique of musicians'. The sun in this musical and social universe was Bishop Sr., especially when he could get his pal Fats Waller to drop by. Eventually some form of an arm-wrestling contest could be imagined between father and son concerning their respective discographies. Whereas the keyboard tinkling Walter Bishop Jr. managed to play on nearly ten percent of every bebop record ever made, "Swing, Brother Swing!" shows up on oodles of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald records; and the old man also wrote amusing numbers, alone and with co-writers, for Louis Jordan and his rollicking band. Best known is the morbid "Jack, You're Dead!", but Louis Jordan also recorded Walter Bishop Sr.'s "Penthouse in the Basement" and "Boogie Woogie Comes to Town". (...from Eugene Chadbourne...)

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Charlie Mingus: a bio
______Charles Mingus, Jr. was born on April 22nd, 1922 in Nogales, Arizona. Irascible, demanding, bullying, and probably a genius, Charles Mingus cut himself a uniquely iconoclastic path through jazz in the middle of the 20th century, creating a legacy that became universally lauded only after he was no longer around to bug people. As a bassist, he knew few peers, blessed with a powerful tone and pulsating sense of rhythm, capable of elevating the instrument into the front line of a band. But had he been just a string player, few would know his name today. Rather, he was the greatest bass-playing leader/composer jazz has ever known, one who always kept his ears and fingers on the pulse, spirit, spontaneity, and ferocious expressive power of jazz.

_____Intensely ambitious yet often earthy in expression, simultaneously radical and deeply traditional, Charles Mingus' music took elements from everything he had experienced - from gospel and blues through New Orleans jazz, swing, bop, Latin music, modern classical music, even the jazz avant-garde. His touchstone was Duke Ellington, but Charles Mingus took the sonic blend and harmonies of 'Ellingtonia' much further, throwing in abrasive dissonances and abrupt changes in meter and tempo, introducing tremendously exhilarating accelerations that generated a momentum of their own. While his early works were written out in a classical fashion, by the mid-'50s, he had worked out a new way of getting his unconventional visions across, dictating the parts to his musicians while allowing plenty of room for the players' own musical personalities and ideas. He was also a formidable pianist, fully capable of taking that role in a group - which he did in his 1961-62 bands, hiring another bassist to fill in for him.

_____Along the way, Charles Mingus made a lot of enemies, causing sometimes violent confrontations on and off the bandstand. A big man physically, he used his bulk as a weapon of intimidation, and he was not above halting concerts to chew out inattentive audiences or errant sidemen, even cashiering a musician now and then on the spot. At one of his concerts in Philadephia - and a memorial to a dead colleague at that - he broke up the show by slamming the piano lid down, nearly smashing his pianist's hands, and then punched trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the mouth. For a savage physical portrait of the emotions that seethed within him, check out the photo on the cover of Duke Ellington's "Money Jungle"; Charles Mingus looks as if he is about to kill someone. But he could also be a gentle giant as his moods permitted, and that quality can be felt in some of his music.

_____Charles Mingus felt the lash of racial prejudice very intensely - which, combined with the frustrations of making it in the music business on his own terms, found its outlet in music. Indeed, some of his bizarre titles were political in nature, such as "Fables of Faubus" (referring to the Arkansas governor who tried to keep Little Rock schools segregated), "Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me" or "Remember Rockefeller at Attica". But he could also be wildly humorous, the most notorious example being "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats" (later shortened to "Gunslinging Bird").

_____Born in a Nogales, Arizona Army camp, Charles Mingus was shortly thereafter taken to the Watts district of Los Angeles, where he grew up. The first music he heard was that of the church - the only music his stepmother allowed around the house - but one day, despite the threat of punishment, he tuned in Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" on his father's crystal set, his first exposure to jazz. He tried to learn the trombone at six and then the cello, but he became fed up with incompetent teachers and ended up on the double bass by the time he reached high school. His early teachers were Red Callender and an ex-New York Philharmonic bassist named Herman Rheinschagen, and he also studied composition with Lloyd Reese. A proto-Third Stream composition written by Charles Mingus in 1940-41, "Half-Mast Inhibition" (recorded in 1960), reveals an extraordinary timbral imagination for a teenager.

_____As a bass prodigy, Charles Mingus performed with Kid Ory in Barney Bigard's group in 1942 and went on the road with Louis Armstrong the following year. He would gravitate toward the R&B side of the road later in the '40s, working with the Lionel Hampton band in 1947-48, backing R&B and jazz performers, and leading ensembles in various idioms under the name 'Baron Von Mingus'. He began to attract real national attention as a bassist for Red Norvo's trio with Tal Farlow in 1950-51, and after leaving that group, he moved to New York and began working with several stellar jazz performers, including Billy Taylor, Stan Getz and Art Tatum. He was the bassist in the famous 1953 Massey Hall concert in Toronto with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Max Roach, and he briefly joined his idol Duke Ellington, where he had the dubious distinction of being the only man Duke Ellingon ever personally fired from his band.

_____Around this time, Charles Mingus tried to make himself into a rallying point for the jazz community. He founded Debut® Records in partnership with his then-wife Celia and Max Roach in 1952, seeing to it that the label recorded a wide variety of jazz from bebop to experimental music until its demise in 1957. Among Debut®'s most notable releases were the Massey Hall concert, an album by Miles Davis, and several Charles Mingus sessions that traced the development of his ideas. He also contributed composed works to the 'Jazz Composers' Workshop' from 1953 to 1955, and later in '55, he founded his own 'Jazz Workshop' repertory group that found him moving away from strict notation toward his looser, dictated manner of composing.

_____By 1956, with the release of "Pithecanthropus Erectus" (Atlantic®), Charles Mingus had clearly found himself as a composer and leader, creating pulsating, ever-shifting compendiums of jazz's past and present, feeling his way into the free jazz of the future. For the next decade, he would pour forth an extraordinary body of work for several labels, including key albums like "The Clown", "New Tijuana Moods", "Mingus Ah Um", "Blues and Roots" and "Oh Yeah"; standards like "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", "Better Git It In Your Soul", "Haitian Fight Song" and "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"; and extended works like "Meditations on Integration" and "Epitaph".

_____Through ensembles ranging in size from a quartet to an 11-piece big band, a procession of noted sidemen like Eric Dolphy, Jackie McLean, J.R. Monterose, Jimmy Knepper, Roland Kirk, Booker Ervin, and John Handy would pass, with Charles Mingus' commanding bass and volatile personality pushing his musicians further than some of them might have liked to go. Charles MingusThe groups with the great Eric Dolphy (heard live on "Mingus At Antibes") in the early '60s might have been his most dynamic, and "The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady" (1963), an extended ballet for big band that captures the anguished/joyful split Charles Mingus personality in full, passionately wild cry - may be his masterpiece.

_____However, Charles Mingus' obsessive efforts to free himself from the economic hazards and larceny of the music business nearly undermined his sanity in the 1960s (indeed, some of the liner notes for "The Black Saint" album were written by his psychologist, Dr. Edmund Pollock). He tried to compete with the Newport festivals by organizing his own 'Jazz Artists Guild' in 1960 that purported to give musicians more control over their work, but that collapsed with the by-now-routine rancor that accompanied so many Charles Mingus ventures. A calamitous, self-presented New York Town Hall concert in 1962; another, shorter-lived recording venture, Charles Mingus Records®, in 1964-65; the failure to find a publisher for his autobiography "Beneath the Underdog", and other setbacks broke his bank account and ultimately his spirit. He quit music almost entirely from 1966 until 1969, resuming performances in June 1969 only because he desperately needed money.

_____Financial angels in the forms of a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition, the publication of "Beneath the Underdog" in 1971, and the purchase of his Debut® masters by Fantasy® boosted Charles Mingus' spirits, and a new stimulating Columbia® album "Let My Children Hear Music" thrust him back into public attention. By 1974, he had formed a new young quintet, anchored by his loyal drummer Dannie Richmond and featuring Jack Walrath, Don Pullen and George Adams, and more compositions came forth, including the massive, kaleidoscopic, Colombian-based "Cumbia and Jazz Fusion" that began its life as a film score.

_____Respect was growing, but time, alas, was running out, for in fall 1977, Mingus was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and by the following year, he was unable to play the bass. Though confined to a wheelchair, he nevertheless carried on, leading recording sessions, and receiving honors at a White House concert on Jun. 18, 1978. His last project was a collaboration, "Mingus", with folk-rock singer Joni Mitchell, who wrote lyrics to Charles Mingus' music and included samples of Charles Mingus' voice on the record.

_____Since his death, Mingus' importance and fame increased remarkably, thanks in large part to the determined efforts of Sue Mingus, his widow. A posthumous repertory group, Mingus Dynasty, was formed almost immediately after his death, and that concept was expanded in 1991 into the exciting Mingus Big Band, which has resurrected many of Charles Mingus' most challenging scores. "Epitaph" was finally reconstructed, performed and recorded in 1989 to general acclaim, and several box sets of portions of Charles Mingus' output have been issued by Rhino®/Atlantic®, Mosaic® and Fantasy®. Beyond re-creations, the 'Mingus influence' can be heard on Branford Marsalis' early "Scenes In The City" album, and especially in the big band writing of his brother Wynton Marsalis. The 'Mingus blend' of wildly colorful eclecticism solidly rooted in jazz history should serve his legacy well in a future increasingly populated by young conservatives who want to pay their respects to tradition and try something different. (...from Richard S. Ginell...)

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