This CD reissue is one of the most rewarding Bud Powell recordings to come from his period in France. Powell (along with bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke) explores four of Thelonious Monk's tunes, Earl Bostic's "No Name Blues" and the standard "There Will Never Be Another You" but it is the final two numbers ("I Ain't Foolin'" and "Squatty") which really find the bop master at his most spirited and swinging. This very rewarding CD releases for the first time the alternate take (a faster rendition without a clear melody) of "Squatty," a song that (based on its original version) deserves to be revived. One oddity: the applause heard throughout this release was added on later because this was actually a studio album.
In the bebop revolution of the 1940’s, as Charlie Parker was the leading voice of the alto saxophone, so was Bud Powell the leading voice of the piano. Recorded in 1956 (before his Paris sojourn), the long-unavailable Blues in the Closet features Powell’s lightning-fast runs and nimble keyboard navigations on a set of originals and well-chosen standards. He is accompanied by Osie Johnson, a solid mainstream drummer, and the dean of jazz bassists, Ray Brown. A must for Powell fans and bop devotees.
When one thinks of altoist/flutist Bud Shank's recordings of the 1950s, it is normally of his work with Stan Kenton's orchestra or collaborations with Laurindo Almeida or Bob Cooper. However, Shank led a superior quartet from 1956-1958 that also included pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and either Chuck Flores or Jimmy Pratt on drums. This typically magnificent five-CD limited-edition box set from Mosaic has the quartet's four albums (including a set that was recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa), a selection by Shank with a sextet that includes vibraphonist Larry Bunker, and three slightly later sets.
This 1959 concert in Paris by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers has been sporadically available on various labels, but this reissue in Verve's Jazz in Paris series is the best sounding and best packaged of the lot. Blakey's group of this period (Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Jymie Merritt, and Walter Davis, Jr.) is in great form during an extended workout of Morgan's intense blues "The Midget," and Dizzy Gillespie's timeless "A Night in Tunisia" is kicked off by Blakey's an electrifying solo. But it is the addition of some special guests for the first two numbers that proves to be extra special. Bud Powell, sitting in for Davis, and French saxophonist Barney Wilen, on alto rather than his normal tenor sax, are both added to the band for inspired versions of Powell's "Dance of the Infidels" and "Bouncing with Bud." Morgan's trumpet playing is outstanding throughout the concert. This is one of the essential live dates in Art Blakey's rather extensive discography.
Though the mercurial pianist Bud Powell's performances could be erratic, to say the least, he's heard in top form on this live 1962 performance from Copenhagen. Indulging in seemingly effortless glissandos and breathtaking displays of technical mastery, Powell, accompanied by Oscar Peterson's future bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, performs a high-spirited set that includes the Thelonious Monk classic "Straight, No Chaser" and a sensitive reading of Benny Golson's poignant standard, "I Remember Clifford."