This is the third volume in the complete recordings of Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell presented in chronological order. The rarely encountered combination of material recorded for both the Clef and Blue Note labels between February 1951 and August 1953 is cause for rejoicing, as most reissues segregate Powell's works by label rather than presenting a consistent sequential artistic evolution. The first eight tracks -- and two cuts from the first Blue Note date -- consist of unaccompanied solos. Here the pianist candidly reveals the surreal contours of his own personal corner of the universe through charming standards and stunning originals. "Parisian Thoroughfare" is pure magic. Having both the solo and trio versions on one album is a major triumph. Speaking of trios, this disc contains some of Powell's most outstanding collaborations, involving Curly Russell and Max Roach or Charles Mingus and Art Taylor. There is something darker, deeper, and more complex in the music that resulted from the trio session of 1953. Mingus had something to do with this, but so did the American Psychiatric Association (see Powell's "Glass Enclosure"). In light of this compilation's sheer brilliance and beatific magnitude, it would be difficult to prescribe a better introduction -- or tribute -- to the endlessly inventive and strikingly imaginative artistry of Bud Powell.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf