follows The Paris Sessions as the second installment in Pablo’s release of Bud Powell performances from the private archives of the late Francis Paudras, Powell’s French benefactor. As with The Paris Sessions, this set includes live performances from the Club Saint-Germain, the Radio Télévision Française Studios, and the Blue Note Café, all in Paris. These recordings were made between November 1957 and January 1961.
Performances include a pensive trio treatment of "Yesterdays" and a thorazine-stilted "Shaw ‘Nuff" with Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot, a loose and swinging "Pie Eye" with Clark Terry and "52nd Street Theme" with Barney Wilen on tenor saxophone. The barnburners of the set are 12-minute "Groovin’ High" and an 11-minute "Bud’s Blues/52nd Street Theme." While not Powell’s best playing, his rapport with fellow expatriate Kenny Clark is evident, and Powell is joined on both by Zoot Sims, whose tenor sound is really quite singular.
These are not great recordings. Powell is marginal at best, displaying brilliance by lightening flash. The sonics, in spite of the considerable remastering efforts of Joe Tarantino, are muddy, but that may very well add to the charm of these recordings. This music might best be considered a period piece of Europe against the backdrop of pre-Civil Rights America, where America’s best musicians sought refuge, not where they were merely accepted, but worshipped.
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