Both volumes of The Amazing Bud Powell capture the troubled pianist at the height of his abilities and career. Powell was one of the first pianists to bring bebop style playing to the instrument. The recordings for Blue Note were originally released in 1951 and 1953. Volume 1 is composed of two different sessions. The first, recorded in 1949, Powell performed in quintet with Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes. The second featured a trio with Curley Russell and Max Roach, and was recorded in 1951. Highlights from the first session include "Bouncing with Bud", "52nd Street Theme" and "Dance of the Infidels," with "Un Poco Loco" being the standout of the second. It is credited as being a significant marker in the establishment of Afro-Cuban jazz. Volume 2 was recorded in 1953 with George Duvivier on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Throughout his life Powell battled with alcohol and was frequently institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals. This can partly be attributed to his being beaten by the police when he was twenty. During some stays he received electroconvulsive therapy. After spending nearly 2 years in a mental hospital, he was released in 1953 into the guardianship of Oscar Goodstein, the owner of the Birdland nightclub. The piece "Glass House" is inspired by his near-imprisonment in Goodstein's apartment. His playing after his release from hospital began to be seriously affected by Largactil, taken for the treatment of schizophrenia. And by the late fifties, his talent was clearly in eclipse. The Amazing Bud Powell captures the unique ability of a groundbreaking jazz pianist. One that signaled a paradigm shift in the way that players approached the instrument. Double 180 gram vinyl LP.
reviewed by Titiyo 02/2013