Bud Powell

Live in Lausanne, 1962

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Bud Powell was known for the erratic nature of his recording sessions and live performances, but when he was on, as during this 1962 live date aired by Lausanne Radio, there was no stopping him. Accompanied by bassist Bob Jaquillard and drummer Mike Stevenot (hardly recognizable names compared to Powell's frequent collaborators in Europe, Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke, though their support of Powell is excellent), the pianist delivers enjoyable renditions of classics written by other greats of bop, including "Anthropology," "Billie's Bounce," "'Round Midnight," "I Remember Clifford," and "Blues in the Closet" (also known as "Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas"). The leader has fun with Monk's "Evidence," picking up the tempo and leaning closer to the piece it was based upon, "Just You, Just Me." Sadly, none of Powell's classic compositions are present, though the band may not have had time to learn them or they may have been a bit too challenging. A swinging take of "Lover, Come Back to Me," an invigorating "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (which shows flashes of brilliance comparable to recordings made a decade earlier), and a brisk run through "Just One of Those Things" are also commendable. Powell is audible singing to himself on most tracks; while the sound is a tad muddy in places, the balance and fidelity are quite good for a 40-year-old aircheck. So much for the belief that Bud Powell was essentially washed up by this point in his life, just four years before his premature death in 1966. Bop fans will want to pick up this very enjoyable concert.

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