Roundups on either Verve or Blue Note offer the best entrée for Bud Powell neophytes -- and let's not forget the four-disc set on Proper -- but this Classics offering of the bop pianist's 1949-1950 sides certainly should not to be overlooked. Most of the 21 tracks feature Powell in a trio setting, with a handful of cuts given over to a top-notch combo date fronted by trumpeter Fats Navarro and a young Sonny Rollins. This latter material includes some of the finest playing of the bop era, as all the soloists find choice spots on the three Powell originals ("Bouncing With Bud," "Dance of the Infidels," "Wail") and the early Monk side "52nd Street Theme." The trio sides, though, offer the real highlights here. Backed on various sessions by the likes of Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, Roy Brown, and Curly Russell, Powell is in his innovative prime on several self-penned gems ("Tempus Fugit," "Celia") and a round of finely gauged standards ("Yesterdays," "Get Happy"). A disc worthy of the competition.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook