Bud Powell

7 Classic Albums, Vol. 2

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This second Real Gone Jazz entry in Bud Powell's "classic" albums series focuses on dates cut for four different labels, all were released between the issue dates of his definitive Blue Note recordings. The music on these two discs is represented by date of issue rather than recording date. It should also be noted that these titles have been re-released singly as well as in various combinations for decades. What is included here is a varied set. First, the solo Jazz Giant was recorded in 1949 and 1950, for Norman Granz's Norgran label and made public in 1955. The Lonely One was originally released on French Verve that same year, but not on the American side of the Atlantic until 1959. (Powell went to work in France because his cabaret card had been revoked in New York.) A curio is the Prestige session, Sonny Stitt with Bud Powell & J.J. Johnson, cut in 1949 and 1950 but not released until 1956. At no time do the three play together; it is a Stitt leader date with two different bands. (Powell appears on nine of the 14 tracks with Max Roach and Curly Russell). Norgran also released the solo Piano Interpretations by Bud Powell that year, while Verve produced The Genius of Bud Powell -- the latter is half-solo, half-rhythm section with Buddy Rich and Ray Brown. Swingin' with Bud and Strictly Powell were cut for RCA in 1956 and 1957, with George Duvivier on bass and Art Taylor on drums. They remain two vastly underrated offerings that are superior to the pianist's Verve sides. This box is cheap -- British copyright law is not as restrictive as it is in the U.S. where these titles were first released, and artists don't receive compensation. Sonically, you also get what you pay for: the sound is not nearly as detailed as either the Japanese or American remasters of these titles, and depending on the album, is either somewhat thin or even shrill. Mastering took place from whatever sources were available to the producers at the time, rather than with any regard for historical preservation. Despite this, the stars in the rating are for the music, not the package.