5 albums you need to hear by bebop trailblazer Oscar Pettiford

Oscar Pettiford
(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty)

Oscar Pettiford was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on September 30, 1922. His Native American mother was Choctaw and his father Harry was half African-American and half Cherokee. 

The family were all musically talented, and Pettiford began his career singing and dancing with them before switching to piano when he was 12. By the age of 14 he was tinkering with a double bass, and gained his first professional recognition as one of two bass players – the other being Chubby Jackson – in Charlie Barnet’s band. 

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