The Four-CD set Tempus Fugue-It gives an in-depth picture of Bud Powell's early career equally as side man and leader. Since he was the pianist of choice for many emerging boppers the set also serves as something of a history of bebop.
Beginning with Cootie Williams' 1944 jump band Powell is already recognizable in his brief spots. On some tunes he is required to take on the personality of Count Basie or a boogie pianist. Surprisingly his best early solo comes on the warhorse "Royal Garden Blues." A quintet date with Coleman Hawkins wannabe Frank Socolow promises more than it deliverslegendary trumpeter Freddie Webster struggles with bebop lines and Powell is content to mark time during his short solos. Webster plays with authority (his sound was his message) a year later behind Sarah Vaughan on one of her first records, a date on which Powell is barely noticeable. A 1946 session with Dexter Gordon and Max Roach is the breakthrough with the full-blown, energetic Powell style on display. From here on there is no doubt of his authority.
The second CD features some prime Fats Navarro trumpet. Sonny Stitt doesn't quite have his Charlie Parker-inspired alto style together, but he comes up with some worthy ideas. Powell's first (and I would say best) record as a leader (January, 1947 for Roost) includes brilliant trio versions of "I'll Remember April," "Somebody Loves Me," and the ballad "Everything Happens to Me."
Disks three and four include a classic Charlie Parker session ("Donna Lee," "Cheryl") and a crackling Powell quintet with Navarro and Sonny Rollins ("Wail," "Dance of the Infidels"). Sonny Stitt plays tenor on a couple of dates, reverting to a Lester Young feel. Many tracks are one wonderful trio chorus after another with Max Roach, Powell's most compatible drummer.
Track Listing: Cd I: 1. You Talk A Little Trash; 2. Floogie Boo; 3. I Don't Know; 4. Gotta Do Some War Work; 5. My Old Flame; 6. Sweet Lorraine; 7. Echoes Of Harlem; 8. Honeysuckle Rose; 9. Roll 'Em; 10. Smack Me; 11. Royal Garden Blues; 12. The Man I Love; 13. Reverse The Charges; 14. September In The Rain; 15. Long Tall Dexter; 16. Dexter Rides Again; 17. I Can't Escape From You; 18. Dexter Digs In; 19. If You Could See Me Now; 20. I Can Make You Love Me If You Let Me; 21. You're Not The Kind; 22. My Kinda Love. Cd Ii: 1. Jay Bird; 2. Jay Bird (Alt Take); 3. Coppin' The Bop; 4. Jay Jay; 5. Mad Bebop; 6. Bebop In Pastel; 7. Fool's Fancy; 8. Bombay; 9. Ray's Idea; 10. Serenade To A Square; 11. Good Kick; 12. Seven Up; 13. Blues In Bebop; 14. Boppin' A Riff; 15. Fat Boy; 16. Everything's Cool; 17. Webb City; 18. I'll Remember April; 19. Indiana; 20. Somebody Loves Me; 21. I Should Care; 22. Bud's Bubble; 23. Off Minor. Cd Iii: 1. Nice Work If You Can Get It; 2. Everything Happens To Me; 3. Donna Lee; 4. Chasin' The Bird; 5. Cheryl; 6. Buzzy; 7. Tempus Fugue-It; 8. Celia; 9. Cherokee; 10. I'll Keep Loving You; 11. Strictly Confidential; 12. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm; 13. Bouncing With Bud; 14. Wail; 15. Dance Of The Infidels; 16. 52nd Street Theme; 17. You Go To My Head; 18. Ornithology; 19. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm; 20. Sonny Side; 21. Bud's Blues; 22. Sunset; 23. Strike Up The Band; 24. I Want To Be Happy Cd Iv: 1. Taking A Chance On Love; 2. Fine And Dandy; 3. Fine And Dandy (Alt. Take); 4. So Sorry Please; 5. Get Happy; 6. Sometimes I'm Happy; 7. Sweet Georgia Brown; 8. Yesterdays; 9. April In Paris; 10. Body And Soul; 11. 'Round Midnight; 12. The Street Beat; 13. Out Of Nowhere; 14. Ornithology; 15. I'll Remember April; 16. Hallelujah; 17. Tea For Two
Personnel: Bud Powell - piano; Cootie Williams, Ermit V. Perry, George Treadwell, Lammar Wright, Tommy Stevenson, Freddie Webster, Leonard Hawkins, Kenny Dorham, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis - trumpet; Ed Burke, Bob Horton, Ed Glover - trombone; Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Frank Powell, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, Leroy Harris, - alto; Sam "The Man" Taylor, Lee Pope, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Frank Socolow, Dexter Gordon, Morris Lane, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt - tenor; Eddie De Verteuil, Leo Parker, baritone; Leroy Kirkland -guitar; Norman Keenan, Carl Pruitt, Leonard Gaskin, Ted Sturgis, Al Hall, Curley Russell, Tommy Potter, Ray Brown - bass; Sylvester "Vess" Payne, Irv Kluger, Max Roach, Kenny Clarke, Wallace Bishop, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Buddy Rich - drums; Cootie Williams, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Sarah Vaughan - vocals.