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Bud Powell: In Europe

Ken Dryden By

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

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 in the rollicking "Blues in the Closet," which showcases a fine solo by Michelot. Terry is the featured soloist in the blues "Pie Eye and Wilen in "52nd Street Theme."

At the Blue Note in Paris the Bud Powell Trio is joined by Lucky Thompson and guitarist Jimmy Gourley for a show taped just two months later. Powell's romps through "Get Happy and his own "John's Abbey find him in stellar form, while the two guests shine in the rapid-fire performance of "Anthropology."

Powell's rhythm section for two songs from a 1962 date at Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen includes renowned bassist Niels Henning Ørsted-Pedersen (only 16 years old at the time) and drummer Jorn Elniff. Though Powell could be noticeably erratic at this point in his career, he's full strength on this occasion, with a slightly slower "Anthropology and an extended interpretation of "'Round Midnight."

The camera work is surprisingly good for the era, with an arresting mixture of closeups (especially on the pianist's hands), a variety of camera angles plus judicious use of cross-fades. The video shows minor signs of aging, and there is a bit of wow in the audio portion throughout the disc, but nothing sufficiently serious to discourage a Bud Powell fan from acquiring this very worthwhile DVD collection.

Tracks: Crossing The Channel; No Problem (With Clark Terry); Pie Eye (With Clark Terry); 52nd Street Theme (Thelonious Monk); Blues In The Closet (Oscar Pettiford); Miguel's Party (With Clark Terry)l Tv Show (Live) (With Lucky Thompson / Jimmy Gourley / Pierre / Kenny Clarke); Get Happy (Harold Arlen; Ted Koehler); John's Abbey; Anthropology (Dizzy Gillespie ; Charlie Parker); Montmartre Tv (Live) (With Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen ; Jorn Elniff); Anthropology (Dizzy Gillespie ; Charlie Parker); Around Midnight (Thelonious Monk)


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