Bud Powell

Birdland: 1953

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For jazz fans who bought earlier, incomplete versions of these broadcasts either on Boris Rose's vinyls, the earlier ESP-Disk issue, or the many subsequent re-releases on Base, Fresh Sounds, Queen-disc, etc., this three-disc collection will come as a revelation. Taken from actual club tapes rather than radio tape checks or transcriptions, the sound here is drastically improved, as are pitch problems and personnel listings, thanks to compilation producer Michael Anderson, making it the most complete archive of Bud Powell's live recordings from 1953. Though the "Lullaby to Birdland" intro with announcer Bob Garrity is quite dodgy, virtually everything else here is worthwhile. For the uninitiated, these live dates, recorded at the famed Birdland club between February and September of 1953, were cut during the most active year in Powell's all too brief career. They follow almost immediately after his release from a series of mental institutions, but the prodigious gifts he displayed in the studio for Blue Note a few years earlier are undiminished. There is plenty of extra music on these cleaned-up tapes as well, with the great pianist playing in the company of rhythm sections that include Oscar Pettiford or Charles Mingus on bass, and either Art Taylor or Roy Haynes on drums. Five tracks on disc two showcase Charlie Parker sitting in (two with Candido on congas -- "Moose the Mooche" and "Cheryl"). On two more, Dizzy Gillespie joins the trio. While the sound quality on these sides is far from perfect, it's more than adequate and so much better than what we had originally. The booklet also includes an extended historical essay by Russ Musto. This set is well worth seeking out for any bop fan.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:50
2 5:38
3 3:34
4 6:58
5 2:56
6 3:31
7 4:15
8 2:43
9 2:59
10 0:46
11 1:45
12 2:50
13 2:43
14 4:37
15 3:00
16 2:05
blue highlight denotes track pick