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|Birth name||Earl Rudolph Powell|
|Born||September 27, 1924|
Harlem, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 31, 1966 41) (aged|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Labels||Roost, Blue Note, Mercury, Norgran, Clef, Verve|
Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell (September 27, 1924 – July 31, 1966)was an American jazz pianist and composer. Along with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke and Dizzy Gillespie, Powell was a leading figure in the development of modern jazz. His virtuosity led many to call him the Charlie Parker of the piano. Powell was also a composer, and many jazz critics credit his works and his playing as having "greatly extended the range of jazz harmony".
He was born in Harlem, New York, United States.Powell's father was a stride pianist. Powell started classical piano lessons at the age of five. His teacher, hired by his father, was a West Indian man named Rawlins. At 10 years of age, Powell showed interest in the swing music that could be heard all over the neighborhood. He first appeared in public at a rent party, where he mimicked Fats Waller's playing style. The first jazz composition that he mastered was James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout". Powell's older brother, William, played trumpet and violin, and by the age of 15 Powell was playing in William's band. Powell heard Art Tatum on the radio and tried to match his technique. Powell's younger brother, Richie Powell, was also a noted bebop pianist.
In his youth Powell listened to the adventurous performances at Uptown House, a venue near his home. This was where Charlie Parker first appeared as a solo act when he briefly lived in New York.Thelonious Monk played at Uptown House. When Monk met Powell he introduced Powell to musicians who were starting to play bebop at Minton's Playhouse. Monk was a resident pianist, and he presented Powell as his protégé. Their mutual affection grew, and Monk became Powell's greatest mentor. Powell eagerly experimented with Monk's idea. Monk's composition "In Walked Bud" is a tribute to their time together in Harlem. Powell was engaged in a series of dance bands, his incubation culminating in becoming the pianist for the swing orchestra of Cootie Williams. In late 1943 he was offered the chance to appear at a nightclub with the quintet of Oscar Pettiford and Dizzy Gillespie, but Powell's mother decided he would continue with the more secure job with the popular Williams.
Powell was the pianist on a handful of Williams's recording dates in 1944. The last included the first recording of Monk's "'Round Midnight".His job with Williams was terminated in Philadelphia in January 1945. After the band finished for the night, Powell wandered near Broad Street Station and was apprehended, drunk, by the private railroad police. He was beaten by them and incarcerated briefly by the city police. Ten days after his release, his headaches persisted and he was hospitalized at Bellevue, an observation ward, and then in a state psychiatric hospital sixty miles away. He remained there for two and a half months.
Powell resumed playing in Manhattan after his release. In 1945–46 he recorded with Frank Socolow, Sarah Vaughan, Dexter Gordon, J. J. Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, and Kenny Clarke.Powell became known for his sight-reading and his skill at fast tempos. Charlie Parker chose Powell to be his pianist on a May 1947 quintet recording session with Miles Davis, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach; this was the only studio session in which Parker and Powell played together.
The Parker session was the only appearance that Powell made in a studio in 1947 besides his Jan 10 recording date with Curly Russell and Max Roach for the album Bud Powell Trio. In November, he had an altercation with a customer at a bar in Harlem. In the ensuing fight, Powell was hit over his eye with a bottle. When the staff at Harlem Hospital found him incoherent and rambunctious, they sent him to Bellevue, which had a record of his previous confinements. He was sent to Creedmoor State Hospital, where he spent eleven months. Powell adjusted to being in the hospital, though in psychiatric interviews he expressed feelings of persecution founded in racism.From February to April 1948, he received electroconvulsive therapy after an outburst which may have been prompted by learning from his girlfriend that she was pregnant with their child. The electroconvulsive therapy was considered ineffective, so the doctors gave him a second series of treatments in May. He was released in October 1948.
After a brief hospitalization in early 1949, Powell made several recordings over the next two and a half years, most of them for Blue Note,Mercury, Norgran, and Clef. He also recorded that summer for two independent producers, a session that resulted in eight masters. Max Roach and Curly Russell were his accompanists. The recordings were unreleased till 1950, when Roost Records bought the masters and released them on a series of 78 rpm records. Musicologist Guthrie Ramsey wrote of the session that "Powell proves himself the equal of any of the other beboppers in technique, versatility, and feeling." The first Blue Note session in August 1949 included Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes, and the compositions "Bouncing with Bud" and "Dance of the Infidels". The second Blue Note session in 1951 was a trio with Curley Russell and Max Roach and included "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Un Poco Loco". The latter was selected by literary critic Harold Bloom for his short list of the greatest works of twentieth-century American art. Sessions for Granz included Ray Brown, George Duvivier, Percy Heath, Roach, Russell, Lloyd Trotman, Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke, Osie Johnson, Buddy Rich, and Art Taylor.
Powell's rivalry with Parker led to feuding and bitterness on the bandstand.Contributing factors were Powell's worsening mental and physical health. Powell recorded for Blue Note and Granz throughout the 1950s, interrupted by another stay in a psychiatric facility from late 1951 to early 1953 after being arrested for possession of heroin. He was released into the guardianship of Oscar Goodstein, owner of the Birdland nightclub. A 1953 trio session for Blue Note with Duvivier and Taylor included Powell's composition "Glass Enclosure", the title inspired possibly by his near-imprisonment in Goodstein's apartment. On May 15, 1953 he played at Massey Hall in Toronto with the quintet, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. The performance was recorded and released by Debut Records as the album Jazz at Massey Hall . After being released from the hospital, his piano playing was negatively affected by the Largactil he was taking as treatment for schizophrenia. In 1956 his brother Richie Powell and trumpeter Clifford Brown were killed in a car crash.
After several more periods in the hospital, Powell moved to Paris in 1959 with Altevia "Buttercup" Edwards and her son, John. Powell had met Edwards directly after an incarceration in 1954.The couple and child moved into the Hotel La Louisiane. She managed his finances and his medicine. Powell continued to perform and record.
In 1963, Powell contracted tuberculosis. During the next year, he returned to New York to perform at Birdland with drummer Horace Arnold and bassist John Ore. His performances during these years were adversely affected by his alcoholism.His emotions became unbalanced, and he was hospitalized in New York after months of erratic behavior and self-neglect. On July 31, 1966, he died of tuberculosis, malnutrition, and alcoholism. He was given the last rites of the Catholic Church.
Bud Powell was influenced primarily by Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum.
His solos featured an attacking style similar to that of horn players, contained frequent arpeggios, and utilized much chromaticism.
His comping often consisted of single bass notes outlining the root and fifth. He used voicings of the root and the tenth or the root with the minor seventh.
Miles Davis in his autobiography said of Powell: "[He] was one of the few musicians I knew who could play, write, and read all kinds of music.""Bud was a genius piano player – the best there was of all the bebop piano players."
In 1986 Francis Paudras wrote a book about his friendship with Powell, translated into English in 1997 as Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell.The book was the basis for Round Midnight , a film inspired by the lives of Powell and Lester Young, in which Dexter Gordon played the lead role of an expatriate jazzman in Paris.
Powell influenced countless younger musicians, especially pianists. These included Horace Silver,Wynton Kelly, Andre Previn, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, and Chick Corea. Corea debuted a song called "Bud Powell" on his live album with Gary Burton, In Concert, Zürich, October 28, 1979 , and in 1997 dedicated an entire album, Remembering Bud Powell to him.
Bill Evans, who described Powell as his single greatest influence,paid the pianist a tribute in 1979: "If I had to choose one single musician for his artistic integrity, for the incomparable originality of his creation and the grandeur of his work, it would be Bud Powell. He was in a class by himself".
Herbie Hancock said of Powell, in a Down Beat magazine interview in 1966: "He was the foundation out of which stemmed the whole edifice of modern jazz piano".
Jazz pianist Bill Cunliffe said Powell was "the first pianist to take Charlie Parker's language and adapt it successfully to the piano."This was, in part, due to his desire to see the pianist get the adulation usually reserved for the saxophonist or trumpeter.
The drummer Art Taylor, who is listed among the personnel on about a dozen Powell recordings, elicited comments concerning Powell from numerous musicians in his 1993 book of interviews, Notes and Tones.Among the comments were these:
Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early-to-mid-1940s in the United States. The style features compositions characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody.
Charles Parker Jr., nicknamed "Bird" or "Yardbird", was an American jazz saxophonist, band leader and composer. Parker was a highly influential soloist and leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and advanced harmonies. Parker was an extremely brilliant virtuoso and introduced revolutionary rhythmic and harmonic ideas into jazz, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. Primarily a player of the alto saxophone, Parker's tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber.
Maxwell Lemuel Roach was an American jazz drummer and composer. A pioneer of bebop, he worked in many other styles of music, and is generally considered one of the most important drummers in history. He worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Clifford Brown, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Charles Mingus, Billy Eckstine, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and Booker Little. He was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1992.
Clifford Benjamin Brown was an American jazz trumpeter and composer. He died at the age of 25 in a car accident, leaving behind four years' worth of recordings. His compositions "Sandu", "Joy Spring", and "Daahoud" have become jazz standards. Brown won the DownBeat magazine Critics' Poll for New Star of the Year in 1954; he was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1972.
Alan Warren Haig was an American jazz pianist, best known as one of the pioneers of bebop.
Walter Davis Jr. was an American bebop and hard bop pianist.
St. Elmo Sylvester Hope was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, chiefly in the bebop and hard bop genres. He grew up playing and listening to jazz and classical music with Bud Powell, and both were close friends of another influential pianist, Thelonious Monk.
Minton's Playhouse is a jazz club and bar located on the first floor of the Cecil Hotel at 210 West 118th Street in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. It is a registered trademark of Housing and Services, Inc. a New York City nonprofit provider of supportive housing. The door to the actual club itself is at 206 West 118th Street where there is a small plaque. Minton's was founded by tenor saxophonist Henry Minton in 1938. Minton's is known for its role in the development of modern jazz, also known as bebop, where in its jam sessions in the early 1940s, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie pioneered the new music. Minton's thrived for three decades until its decline near the end of the 1960s, and its eventual closure in 1974. After being closed for more than 30 years, the newly remodeled club reopened on May 19, 2006, under the name Uptown Lounge at Minton's Playhouse. However, the reopened club was closed again in 2010. Remodeling began again in 2012.
"Donna Lee" is a bebop jazz standard attributed to Charlie Parker, although Miles Davis has also claimed authorship. Written in A-flat, it is based on the chord changes of the jazz standard "(Back Home Again in) Indiana". Beginning with an unusual half-bar rest, "Donna Lee" is a very complex, fast-moving chart with a compositional style based on four-note groups over each change.
Richard Powell was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. He was not assisted in his musical development by Bud, his older and better known brother, but both played predominantly in the bebop style.
Dillon "Curley" Russell was an American jazz musician, who played bass on many bebop recordings.
Barry Doyle Harris was an American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger, and educator. He was an exponent of the bebop style.
"A Night in Tunisia" is a musical composition written by Dizzy Gillespie around 1940–42, while Gillespie was playing with the Benny Carter band. It has become a jazz standard. It is also known as "Interlude", and with lyrics by Raymond Leveen was recorded by Sarah Vaughan in 1944.
Jazz at Massey Hall is a live jazz album featuring a performance by "The Quintet" given on 15 May 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The quintet was composed of five leading 'modern' players of the day: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. It was the only time that the five musicians recorded together as a unit, and it was the last recorded meeting of Parker and Gillespie.
"Ko-Ko" is a 1945 bebop recording composed by Charlie Parker. The original recorded version lists Parker on alto saxophone with trumpeter Miles Davis, double bassist Curley Russell and drummer Max Roach. Due to the absence of Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie was enlisted to play piano, instead of his usual trumpet. Pianist Sadik Hakim, then known as Argonne Thornton, was also known to be present at the session. Rumors persist to this day about precisely who played trumpet and piano on this piece; some claim it's young Miles Davis who plays trumpet and Gillespie comping at piano, on both takes; most claim Gillespie plays trumpet and, or instead of, piano; some claim Hakim is the pianist on all or part of one or both of the takes. However, Miles Davis confirms in his autobiography that he did not play trumpet on "Ko Ko":
"I remember Bird wanting me to play "Ko-Ko," a tune that was based on the changes of "Cherokee." Now Bird knew I was having trouble playing "Cherokee" back then. So when he said that that was the tune he wanted me to play, I just said no, I wasn't going to do it. That's why Dizzy's playing trumpet on "Ko-Ko," "Warmin' up a Riff," and "Meandering" on Charlie Parker’s Reboppers, because I wasn't going to get out there and embarrass myself. I didn't really think I was ready to play tunes at the tempo of "Cherokee" and I didn't make no bones about it."
"Little" Benny Harris was an American bebop trumpeter and composer.
The Amazing Bud Powell, also called The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1, is an album by jazz pianist Bud Powell, first released on Blue Note in April 1952, as a 10" vinyl. It is part of a loosely connected series with the 1954 companion The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 2 and the 1957 Bud! The Amazing Bud Powell , all released on Blue Note. The album details two recording sessions. In the first, recorded on August 9, 1949, Powell performed in quintet with Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes, and in trio with Potter and Haynes. In the second, on May 1, 1951, Powell performed in trio with Curley Russell and Max Roach, and solo.
The Complete Blue Note and Roost Recordings is a four-disc box set, released on October 4, 1994, containing the bulk of jazz pianist Bud Powell's recordings as leader for Blue Note Records, plus two early sessions for Roost Records.
The Complete Bud Powell on Verve is a five-disc box set, released on September 27, 1994 by Verve Records, containing all of jazz pianist Bud Powell's recordings as leader for producer Norman Granz.
The Charlie Parker Story is an LP record by Charlie Parker, released posthumously by Savoy Records. While many of the tracks on this album had been previously released on other formats, this is the first album that chronicles the entire session, recorded November 26, 1945, including all takes of all pieces. This session is famous in that it is the first recorded under Parker's name. It is also controversial, in that to this day it is unclear who the pianist and trumpet player are on all of the tracks.