Bud POWELL – The Genius of Bud Powell 1992

Bud POWELL – The Genius of Bud Powell 1992

Jazz

In 1951, Bud Powell was still at the height of his considerable powers. Included here are two sessions from that year–a trio with Ray Brown and Buddy Rich (three takes of “Tea for Two” and a super-fast “Hallelujah”) and eight solo piano tunes from a different date. On “Tea for Two,” Buddy Rich’s drumming brings out the charming showoff in Bud, and on “Hallelujah,” Powell plays with a hysterical clarity.

“Oblivion” and “Hallucinations” are the most masterful of the eight solo cuts. Here Bud swings effortlessly and seems to be speaking his own, true language. The elegance of another era pervades the Gershwin-esque “Parisian Thoroughfare” and “Dusk in Sandi.” And one can imagine a young Bill Evans listening to “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” and taking note of the rich, logical voicings coupled with a wonderful, singing tone.
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Bud Powell was, in the words of Herbie Hancock, the cornerstone of modern jazz piano. The two sessions on this CD (a trio from 1950 and eight solos from 1951) are, along with the performances on “Jazz Giant”, are the very best Powell on Verve, and arguably the best Bud Powell ever recorded. They are masterworks that all jazz listeners must hear. He is at the peak of his creative powers, and he is otherworldly: his speed,articulation, invention are startling. Every piece is a classic. Three takes of “Tea for Two”, in which Powell was reportedly racing drummer Buddy Rich (out of spite), is speed incarnate. “Parisian Thoroughfare”: the definitive performance of this beautiful composition. “Oblivion”: stately, unforgettable, haunting. “Dusk in Sandy”: spare, haunting, gorgeous.
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Anyone interested in “The Genius of Bud Powell” would be far better off with the less expensive Bud Powell “Complete 1947-1951 Blue Note, Verve & Roost Sessions” compilation instead. And here’s why:
1. The Blue Note/Verve/Roost compilation contains exactly the same material as “The Genius of Bud Powell” with same personnel from the same recording sessions (solo sessions in 1951, and trio sessions with Ray Brown & Buddy Rich in 1950).
2. “The Genius of Bud Powell” contains only 12 tracks. The Blue Note/Verve/Roost compilation contains 45 tracks.
3. The sound quality on the BN/V/R compilation is surprisingly bright, clean and present (a 24 bit remastering), especially considering the fact that these recordings were made some sixty year ago.
4. The BN/V/R compilation cost me two dollars less than the amazon price for “The Genius of BP.”
On top of all this, the BN/V/R compilation, a 2-CD Spanish import (from the Jazz Factory), apparently includes all of Bud Powell’s trio studio sessions for Blue Note, Verve and Roost from 1947 to 1951, as well as all of his stunning solo work: “Parisian Thoroughfare,” “Oblivion,” “Dusk in Sandi,” “Hallucinations,” “The Fruit,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” Just One of Those Things,” and “The Last Time I saw Paris.”
These eight solo pieces alone (which are also included on “The Genius of BP”) would make the BN/V/R complilation worthwhile, but the additional, and amazing, 37 trio tracks make it an obvious choice (13 of these trio pieces–with the same personnel from the same sessions–make up the entire “Jazz Giant” CD).
Of the three dozen trio pieces included on the Blue Note/Verve/Roost compilation, there are many I simply wouldn’t want to do without, especially the Powell originals “Celia,” “Strictly Confidential,” “Tempus Fugue-It,” “So Sorry Please,” “I’ll Keep Loving You,” “Bud’s Bubble,” “Un Poco Loco” (three takes), and my personal favorite “Parisian Thoroughfare” (in both solo and trio sessions), not to mention “Cherokee,” “A Night in Tunisia” (two takes), Monk’s “Off Minor,” as well as two takes of “Ornithology.”
One very minor complaint (or maybe it’s really more of a lament): the trio session of “Parisian Thoroughfare” ends abruptly when someone (perhaps Powell himself) simply says: “Hey, cut it, man.” But at least there’s 3:27 of this brilliant rendition of one of the great BP originals.
One last thing (especially for those unable to locate the 2-CD set described above): As of this writing (Oct 2008), the “Complete 1947-1951 Blue Note, Verve & Roost Sessions” is incorrectly listed at amazon as the “Complete Blue Note and Verve [IMPORT].”
By  Ben Nevis.
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Bud Powell- (Piano);
Ray Brown- (Bass);
Buddy Rich- (Drums).
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01. Tea For Two 3:32
02. Tea For Two 4:17
03. Tea For Two 3:51
04. Hallelujah 3:02
05. Parisian Thoroughfare 2:32
06. Oblivion 2:12
07. Dusk In Sandi 2:16
08. Hallucinations 2:29
09. The Fruit 3:20
10. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square 3:44
11. Just One Of Those Things 3:54
12. The Last Time I Saw Paris 3:16
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