The Amazing Bud Powell captures 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 with this recording for Blue Note, originally released in 1955. 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 Max Roach. Highlights include "Bouncing with Bud", "52nd Street Theme" and "Dance of the Infidels," with "Un Poco Loco" being the standout. In addition to being an incredible listen, the album is also credited as being a significant marker in the establishment of Afro-Cuban jazz. 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. His playing after his release from hospital began to be seriously affected by Largactil, taken for the treatment of schizophrenia. 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.
- music label: Blue Note 1955 / 2012
reviewed by Titiyo 02/2013