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MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

The Amazing Bud Powell, Volumes 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1503 and 1504

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In the pantheon of bebop's Founding Fathers, there are three giants. Everyone knows Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Everyone forgets Bud Powell. Like Bird and Diz, Powell could spit out notes faster than anyone before or since. Also like Bird and Diz, Powell sometimes fell in love with his own speed, so some recordings became exercises in ridiculously frantic keyboard runs because... well, he could. Fortunately, these two early Powell discs emphasize the quirky, fun, inventive Bud Powell. While no pianist was ever quite as quirky and original as Thelonious Monk, Powell might place a close ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop

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The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop (Music of the African Diaspora) Kindle Edition Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. 257 Pages ASIN: # B00CDTSS78 University of California Press 2013 All of the sudden, we have competing biographies of modern jazz pianist Bud Powell. For the longest only Francis Paudras' deeply sentimental memoir, Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell (Da Capo, 1986) and Bertrand Tavernier's imaginative film adaptation of the same, Round Midnight (Warner Bros., 1986) were the only “biopics" of the biographically-neglected pianist until Alan ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Wail: The Life of Bud Powell by Peter Pullman

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Wail: The Life of Bud Powell Peter Pullman 483 Pages ISBN-13: # 978-0985141813 (print) ASIN: B0079NR9IC (ebook) Peter Pullman, LLC 2012 The best biographies are well researched and annotated without being pedantic, informative without browbeating the reader and objective without indifference, or worse, malice. There exists excellent examples to illustrate the difference between “good" and “bad" biographies, written on the same subject: Elvis Presley. Peter Guralnick produced a two-volume set on Presley, Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (Little Brown, 1995) and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell

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Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell Francis Paudras 355 Pages ISBN: # 0-306-80816-1 Da Capo Press 1998 Pianist Earl Randolph “Bud" Powell (1924-1966) is one of jazz's brightest stars and most tragic figures. The new millennium has enjoyed a renewed interest in Powell, his life and art with Alan Groves and Alyn Shipton's Glass Enclosure: The Life of Bud Powell (Bloomsbury Academic, 2001), Peter Pullman's Wail: The Life of Bud Powell (Peter Pullman, LLC, 2001) and Gruthrie Ramsey's The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History And The Challenge of Bebop

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The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History And The Challenge of Bebop Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. 240 pages ISBN: 978-0-520-24391-0 University of California Press 2013 A new book on pianist Bud Powell is something of an event. The first full length book on one of jazz's most dazzling pianists, Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell, was written in French by Powell's former confidante and supporter Francis Paudras, and published in 1986, some 20 years after Powell's death. That book did much of the leg work for Alan Groves and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Bud Powell: Live at the Blue Note Cafe, Paris 1961 & In Copenhagen

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Bud Powell Live at the Blue Note Cafe, Paris 1961 ESP-Disk 2008 Bud Powell In Copenhagen Storyville 2008

Pianist Bud Powell's music is often buried in his tragic personal history, so much so that his story is best known through the film Round Midnight, where his character is transmogrified into a saxophonist memorably played by Dexter Gordon. Mental illness--at least partially caused by a savage police beating in 1945--and drug and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Bud Powell in Copenhagen

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After establishing iconic status as the first great bop pianist in the 1940s, Bud Powell was plagued by both mental illness and a fondness for, to borrow his mentor Charlie Parker's famous phrase, “a little sherry before dinner." As a result his output was vastly uneven. Catch Powell right and he is brimfull of energy and ideas. Catch him wrong and, while the technique is there, his playing falls flat and lacks inspiration--it can even be a downright mess. Powell's move to Europe in 1959 gave him a new lease of life. This album, recorded in 1962, features Powell close ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Bud Powell: In Europe

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Bud Powell In Europe: Paris 1959-Copenhagen 1962 Efor Films 2006

European television seems to have been more diligent than American networks about presenting and preserving jazz broadcasts from the late '50s and early '60s, as evidenced by this DVD compiling three separate performances by Bud Powell.

On the 1959 set from Club St. Germaine in Paris, the pianist is in good form, sharing the stage with trumpeter Clark Terry, saxophonist Barney Wilen, bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke. Powell seems very confident and clear-headed in his solos and ensemble work, especially ...

FIRST TIME I SAW...

The Amazing One

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At Birdland, Pee Wee Marquette, the diminutive MC, had a way of shouting into the mike when he announced the names of band members. Anyone who has heard it can not forget it. It made your jaw ache like you'd just eaten a quart of ice cream on a bad filling.

“Ladies and gentlemen, he shrilled with the mike pressed right to his mouth, popping it and then causing ear-shattering feed back. “ We'd like to bring to the stand now, for your enjoyment... the one, the only...the Amazing One... Bud Powell. The Amazing Bud Powell TRIO!! Bud POW-ell, ladies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Bebop

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By P. Christopher Dowd

Bud Powell, forever known for his groundbreaking bop piano, represents a key link to the evolution of an art form, but he's also a glaring reminder that jazz is first and foremost black music. Powell is a testament to the horrors of racism and the musical expression that emerged from the black American experience. While his contemporary Dave Brubeck enjoys the sunset of his career, Powell was never afforded that opportunity. After being hit on the head in an alleged fight with racist cops in his early 20s, Powell suffered significant head trauma and was in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Eternity

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The great Bud Powell casts a very long shadow over all jazz piano players, not to mention most melodic/harmonic improvisers, regardless of instrument. His best recordings are simply indispensable. However, it is also known to jazz fans that Powell's life “unraveled, after what today would be called a hate crime brought on a crescendo of mental illness and physical damage. Those knowledgeable fans also know that there are quite a few records made from the later years of his life that are sad to listen to because these factors had negative effects on his music. Eternity opens with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Eternity

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Let me begin by saying that I'm no Bud Powell aficionado. I understand there were undoubtedly times when he played far better than this, and times when he may have played even worse. All I can say with assurance is that had I not seen Powell's name and picture on this album, I never would have guessed it was him.

These unrehearsed sessions were taped in Paris between 1961-64, long after Powell's best days were behind him. This is Powell essentially alone at the piano, in Francis Paudras' apartment in rue de Boursault, noodling away on an Erard baby grand, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Eternity

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It is common knowledge that Bud Powell recorded several tunes while he lived in the house of Francis Paudras in Paris. Paudras sheltered these recordings, but he left the archives in the care of Celia Powell, Bud's daughter. The tracks were selected in conjunction with Jessica Shih of Piadrum Records.

Paudras had a piano in a room that formed an alcove. Powell would use the nook to play when he wanted to and not when he was asked to. This perhaps represents a difference, for he could give vent to his feelings and to the mood that enveloped ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bud Powell: Eternity

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These solo piano sessions by Bud Powell were recorded between 1961 and 1964 in Paris at the home of his friend, Francis Paudras. The recordings, while made informally and never released, have preserved the sound and the spirit that the pianist espoused as a pioneer of bebop and as an influential force on many aspiring jazz artists. Like most dedicated pianists, Powell played out of a love for the music. Among the song titles, you'll recognize his grandchildren's names, as well as the name of a tuberculosis sanatorium where he received treatment. Ever expressive, he played the piano in the ...



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