Pete Recommends…Bud Powell – Bud Powell Plays

Each month Peter Batten recommends a recording that jazz fans may wish to add to their personal library.

Bud Powell Trio Plays

    Recently I was chatting with a friend who hears quite a lot of contemporary jazz live: Keith Jarrett solo, for example. He had attended a recital of recordings by Bud Powell. “I had never heard of him,” he said, “it was quite a surprise”. I was amazed. For my generation of jazz collectors, starting in the 1950s, Bud was the number one jazz pianist. Several of my friends made the short journey to Paris to hear him at the Blue Note.

    I have a large collection of Bud’s recordings. For anyone wanting to appreciate the quality of his playing from a single CD, this one stands out. It offers 16 tracks from two wonderful trios. The first 8 tracks were recorded in 1947, with Curley Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. Bud was at his very best and produces some of the finest jazz piano ever recorded. The second 8 were recorded in 1953, with George Duvivier on bass and Art Taylor on drums. Bud has lost a little of his amazing facility, but now creates a more sombre feeling, which makes a very deep impression. Listen to his reharmonisation of “Embraceable You”. The whole set is enhanced by the subtle strength of Duvivier’s bass lines.

    [ These sessions were re-issued on a Roulette CD:        CDP 7939022. Copies can be obtained from several     dealers on the internet ]