An excellent companion to Classics' 1949-1950 Bud Powell title, this roundup of the bop pianist's early post-war sides gets top overview honors for its better balanced share of combo and trio sides. The first half is mostly taken up by an incredible 1946 session featuring Fats Navarro, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, and Kenny Clarke, with highlights including the Navarro originals "Webb City," "Fat Boy," and "Everything's Cool." For Powell fanatics, though, the eight trio sides will be the real attraction. Backed by first-tier boppers Max Roach and Curly Russell, Powell is at his fleet and innovative best on a mix of his own work ("Bud's Bubble"), some Monk ("Off Minor"), and a handful of choice covers ("I'll Remember April," "I Should Care"). A taste of possibly the most irrepressible and sophisticated bop on wax.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook