743

Bud Powell: Bud Powell in Copenhagen

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Bud Powell: Bud Powell in Copenhagen 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 to his best, scatting and growling happily as he plays with his old, rediscovered fire. Originally titled Bouncing With Bud, it has been released on different labels over the years, before emerging in Storyville's excellent In Copenhagen series. Powell is backed by the phenomenal bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, astonishingly just 15 at the time, and a self-effacing drummer, William Schiopffe.



The opener, "Rifftide," based on the chords of "Lady Be Good," dates back to 1945 when Powell was in his 20s and had just left Cootie Williams to take his place in the jazz revolution on 52nd Street. Just a year later, by which time he had absorbed Charlie Parker's ideas into his playing, his composition, "Bouncing With Bud" was being recorded by Sonny Stitt (as "Bebop In Pastel") and, more famously, in 1949 (under its correct title) by a quintet that included Sonny Rollins and Fats Navarro. The version here is claimed to be the first ever trio recording of the song.



The main part of the album comprises Powell's takes on tunes by fellow boppers. These include Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," the first time he's played it on record since the famous Massey Hall concert with Parker and Gillespie in 1953. Then there's Denzil Best's "Move" and, most interestingly, Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser" and "52nd Street Theme."



Powell pays jaunty tribute to such pre-bop influences as Earl Hines on Irving Berlin's "The Best Thing For You," obliterating memories of a disastrous 1955 recording he made of the same song. The only ballad, Benny Golson's magnificent "I Remember Clifford," is given a sensitive, very slow and lyrical treatment, a welcome break from all the up-tempo pyrotechnics. This album documents a troubled genius seeking and finding reconciliation with his past. Grateful thanks to Storyville for putting it back in circulation.


Track Listing: Rifftide; Bouncing With Bud; Move; The Best Thing For You; Straight, No Chaser, I Remember Clifford; Hot House; 52nd Street Theme.

Personnel: Bud Powell: piano; Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen: bass; William Schiopffe: drums.

Title: Bud Powell in Copenhagen | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Storyville Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Someone Else CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Falling Forward CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "AMa AZa LaNdO" CD/LP/Track Review AMa AZa LaNdO
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by John Kelman
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "First Man" CD/LP/Track Review First Man
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.