Monday, August 14, 2017

Piano Heros - Bud Powell

Most listeners, writers and musicians consider Bud Powell the father of bebop piano. He was at the very least its most admired pioneer, and his influence upon two generations of players is pervasive. Among hundreds, maybe thousands who owe Powell a strong debt of gratitude are Barry Harris, Tardo Hammer, Alan Broadbent and Pete Malinverni. Powell's brilliance peaked around 1949 or '50 and began to fade as early as 1956. Mental illness plagued him, and by the late '50's his skills began to erode. There were occasional solid moments here and there during his tenure in Europe from 1959 to 1964, the year he returned to the US, nearly forgotten and severely wounded by his emotional travails. He died penniless and homeless in 1966. Bud Powell was only 41. Still, he achieved the loftiest heights of bebop piano.

Five favorite recordings of Bud Powell as sideman, and five as leader:
1. Charlie Parker, alto sax; Live At Birdland 1950 - Cool & Blue
2. Charlie Parker, alto sax; Memorial - Savoy
3. Charlie Parker, alto sax; Summit Meeting At Birdland - CBS
4. Serge Chaloff, baritone sax; Memorial - Cool & Blue
5. Dexter Gordon, tenor sax; Dexter's Mood - Cool & Blue
1. Bud Powell At Birdland 1953 (3 CD's) - ESP
2. The Complete Blue Note And Roost Recordings - Blue Note (4CD's)
3. The Complete Bud Powell On Verve (4 CD's)
4. Spring Broadcasts 1953 - ESP
5. The Bud Powell Trio Plays - Roulette

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