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Bud Powell

One of the giants of the jazz piano, Bud Powell changed the way that virtually all post-swing pianists play their instruments. He did away with the left-hand striding that had been considered essential earlier and used his left hand to state chords on an irregular basis. His right often played speedy single-note lines, essentially transforming Charlie Parker's vocabulary to the piano (although he developed parallel to "Bird").

Tragically, Bud Powell was a seriously ill genius. After being encouraged and tutored to an extent by his friend Thelonious Monk at jam sessions in the early '40s, Powell was with Cootie Williams' orchestra during 1943-1945. In a racial incident, he was beaten on the head by police; Powell never fully recovered and would suffer from bad headaches and mental breakdowns throughout the remainder of his life. Despite this, he recorded some true gems during 1947-1951 for Roost, Blue Note, and Verve, composing such major works as "Dance of the Infidels," "Hallucinations" (also known as "Budo"), "Un Poco Loco," "Bouncing with Bud," and "Tempus Fugit." Even early on, his erratic behavior resulted in lost opportunities (Charlie Parker supposedly told Miles Davis that he would not hire Powell because "he's even crazier than me!"), but Powell's playing during this period was often miraculous.

A breakdown in 1951 and hospitalization that resulted in electroshock treatments weakened him, but Powell was still capable of playing at his best now and then, most notably at the 1953 Massey Hall Concert. Generally in the 1950s his Blue Notes find him in excellent form, while he is much more erratic on his Verve recordings. His warm welcome and lengthy stay in Paris (1959-1964) extended his life a bit, but even here Powell spent part of 1962-1963 in the hospital. He returned to New York in 1964, disappeared after a few concerts, and did not live through 1966.

In later years, Bud Powell's recordings and performances could be so intense as to be scary, but other times he sounded quite sad. However, his influence on jazz (particularly up until the rise of McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans in the 1960s) was very strong and he remains one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Complete Bud Powell On Verve

Disc 1
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Disc 5

Comments

Where was Bud Powell when the police from these United States tried to kill him by beating him on the head? God does prevail; Bud Powell's music legacy prevails to this day. Do we even know the policeman's names? No because people of a lesser genius and obvious violence are never remembered. Who won? Through his musical genius, Bud Powell's name will live on FOREVER.
Thank you, dear Bud, for your beautiful music that lives on and on.
I listened until closing time at Birdland in 1964. No one could surpass him
it would be nice to have a list of the sidemen on jazz albums
keep his picture on my wall
wow what an incredible bio. f-ing tragic, as always. why do artists have to end beautiful lives in tragedy! why oh why
Music to my Ears!
i love monk but powell is so.....good as well.
velocita5
What a yeah, you said it Mr. Robbins, bepob is music for the soul! Love the Bud.
bud powell was a master - I am reading a book about thelonius monk at this time and bud powell is mentioned quite a bit in one chapter - you can kind of hear monks influence in his playing - so many great musician surfaced around that time too bad some of them had such tragic lives - I love bebop music for the soul!!!
fastfrankie1
I was with the U.S. Army stationed in France from 1960 thru 1963 an was lucky enough to catch Bud Powel at a litle Paris night club called "Le Chat Qui Peche" in 1961. He was fantastic, but very sick at the time (They had to lead him to the piano and back to his table between sets). But once he was at the piano he really performed! it was almost as if he came alive when he was playing. - Frank Pugh


I've been studying Powell lately. He was a true example of one transcending his external life circumstance s . Inspired, sad, amazed, charmed, are but a few of the emotions that have visited me as I have imagined this great artist!

Here is one of the role models for countless jazz pianists. Bud was a tragic figure who lived during the pre-civil rights era, running into one bad situation too many. He was a genius and a prodigy, indeed. If only he were not as defiant and paranoid, he might have been an even greater fugure.
IT SOUND SO GOOD UNTIL I WANT TO Know more ABOUT THIS MAN.
stevenschwar z 2 3
Like!
Far as I know the bio is sadly correct. It is not clear that the rap on the head had anything to do with his illness. He was probably a schizophreni c .
mooyoo.77
ilove the way he changed the piano style
I do believe this is his bio.
thank you for an extrodinary presintation
ashanta2000
bud was theone that took art tatum to outer space one of the best ashanta2000@ hot mail .com
Great music. I like blues, jazz, and big band music. Thank you,really neat.
I don't Think this bio is about Bud Powell, correct me if I'm wrong.
Bud was a genius, also his younger brother Richie Powell, is quite
extraordinar y .

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