Oscar Edward Estell


A Tulsa native, born in 1929, by the age of 12 was playing regularly at his church. He toured the “chittlin’ circuit” with his high school band teacher Clarence Fields, in a jazz group called the Music Masters with Ernie Fields, Sr., and Clarence Love, before organizing his own trio. In the armed forces, Estell played with the Air Force Band. An accomplished singer, he was proficient at piano, reeds, and brass. Fields, Sr. said the difference between Estell and other big names of the time “was a record contract.” Estell was known and respected coast to coast as “a musician’s musician.” Although he toured nationally with Lionel Hampton, Sam Cooke, Bill Doggett, Ernie Freeman, Roy Milton and Art Farmer, he was only known to record once with Farmer. In 1959, he married and settled in Tulsa and began playing local clubs and touring on weekends. During the 60s, among others, he played with local band leader Harry Vann.