Oscar Pettiford – Vol. 2 (Another One) 1955 – Bethlehem/ Pure Pleasure BCP33 – audiophile mono vinyl ****:
(Oscar Pettiford – leader and bass; Donald Byrd – trumpet; Ernie Royal – trumpet; Bob Brookmeyer – trombone; Gigi Gryce – alto sax and clarinet; Jerome Richardson – tenor sax and clarinet; Don Abney – piano; Osie Johnson – drums)
Mentioned with the likes of Charles Mingus, and Ellington’s great bassist, Jimmy Blanton (who also tragically died much too soon), Oscar Pettiford was among the the most pre-eminent bass players of the 1950s. Pettiford was also noted as among the first jazz musicians to bring the cello into jazz groupings as a solo instrument.
Oscar bridged the gap between bop and the onset of hard bop. His tone was pure, woody, and his solos were both concise and swinging. His abilities were so well-respected that in his brief 15+ year career, he co-led an early bop group with Dizzy Gillespie, played with Coleman Hawkins, followed Blanton with Duke’s Orchestra in the mid-40s, before joining Woody Herman. His leader dates were in the 1950s. Pettiford spent the last years of his life in Denmark, where he passed away at the young age of 38, in 1960. As a composer, he is noted for the standards, “Tricotism,” and “Bohemia After Dark” which are still heavily covered.
The English audiophile LP label, PurePleasure, has done a public service by releasing in 180 gram vinyl with remastered sound, Pettiford’s 1955 masterpiece, Vol. 2, also known as Another One. What makes this LP a highlight of Pettiford’s discography are the sidemen, as well as the song selection. The horn section is beyond compare from this time period, including Donald Byrd and Ernie Royal on trumpets, and Gigi Gryce and Jerome Richardson on saxophones. Completing Oscar’s rhythm section are Don Abney on piano, and Osie Johnson on drums.
Song selection is topnotch and includes “Stardust,” on which Pettiford’s solo is sublime, and “Bohemia After Dark” which may have been its first recorded version. Oscar sets out the intro theme here before the horns, both in ensemble mode, and as soloists, shine. Other highlights include “Oscarlypso,” arranged by Gigi Gryce, where Latin American rhythms merge with jazz, and “Scorpio,” where Gryce shines on clarinet (reportedly one of his earliest ventures on the “straight stick”). What is very evident on this entire album is the well-oiled ensemble blend from the front line horns.
Sound quality for this time period is enhanced by the estimable Roy Staff of Air Mastering, who is the go-to guy for vinyl remastering. For fans of Oscar Pettiford, this is the version of Another One that you should own.
TrackList: Kamman’s A’Comin, Minor Seventh Heaven, Stardust, Bohemia After Dark, Oscarlypso, Scorpio, Titoro, Don’t Squawk, Another One