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Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell

C. Michael Bailey By

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Powell's story and those of Sidney Bechet, Kenny Clarke, Dexter Gordon, Don Byas, Lucky Thompson and Johnny Griffin are similar and crucial to our understanding of jazz history and the events that made that history. Paudras' account is one that while flawed by a personal myopia nevertheless provides a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding one of America's most talented musicians and how little that talent counted in the end and how much it counted to Paudras at the same time. My only quibble is that a (close to definitive) discography, with ratings, was not provided as had been in the Chet Baker biographies: Jeroen de Valk's Chet Baker: His Life and Music (Berkeley Hills Books, 2000), James Gavin's Deep In A Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (Knopf, 2002) and Matthew Ruddick's superb Funny Valentine: The Story of Chet Baker (Melrose Books, 2012).

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