Bud Powell

Autumn Broadcasts, 1953

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By the autumn of 1953, one of the most active years of playing Bud Powell ever had, he had completely replaced the rhythm section of his trio. Gone were drummer Roy Haynes and Oscar Pettiford -- who had been replaced by Mingus for a few dates earlier in the spring -- and between September 5 and September 9, he'd gone through two more bass players, the estimable George Duvivier, who appears on tracks one through five, and finally by Curly Russell, who appears on two separate broadcasts from the ninth and the 26th of September. Drummer Art Taylor was a steady and had joined the band in June. The first half of this disc reveals Powell's interest in Latin rhythms for bebop. His flowing read of "My Heart Stood Still," with Taylor laying out polyrhythmic hi-hat and snare riffs, sets up "Un Poco Loco," which is full-blown cha cha. On "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Dance of the Infidels," Powell himself starts playing son style and covering the extra beats with his left hand with oddly shaped minor ninths and augmented sevenths. The mood is bop to be sure, with its molten lava pace and heat, but the Latin dimension opens up a new style of soloing to Powell, who reaches more for the middle of the keyboard with his right hand than he did previously. The final dates with Russell are not quite as driven, mainly because Russell was not as imaginative a bassist as Duvivier. His willingness to keep time and flow the changes through the gate overcomes his desire to act on rhythmic fantasies in new harmonic structures. Through it all, Taylor is the epitome of the bebop drummer, tossing in accents and fills at just the right time to keep things from getting too knotty. He also instinctively knows when to push Powell, making them a great fit as, left to his own devices, Powell would be all flowing and heady arpeggio studies; he would leave his key polyrhythmic sensibilities in the background. Here the material and Powell's bent for Latin jazz is incentive enough, and Taylor underlines it with his own flourishes, especially on "Oblivion" and "Un Poco Loco." This is a solid set that is only marred by the shoddy recording quality. Everything can be heard, it's true, but for those looking for pristine sound, it's best to look elsewhere despite the very high quality of the performances.

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