Jimmy's on Congress logo

OK. Okmulgee, Oklahoma, is on the Music History birthday map today because Oscar Pettiford, the legendary jazz double bassist, cellist and composer, was born on an Indian reservation there on this day in 1922. Considered the pioneer of the cello as a solo instrument in jazz, Pettiford was in on the ground floor of bebop. From Duke and Dizzy to Miles and Monk, the list of artists he shared stages and studios with before his death in 1960 at age 37 is long and impressive. Here he is with a 1959 performance of “Why Not? That’s What!,” described as an answer to Miles Davis’ “So What.” (Bonus clip: “Blues in the Closet,” 1953)