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Ultimate Bud Powell

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Audio CD, February 24, 1998
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Tempus Fugit 2:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Celia 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. I'll Keep Loving You 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Strictly Confidential 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. So Sorry, Please 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Parisian Thoroughfare 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Oblivion 2:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Dusk In Sandi 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Hallucinations 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. The Fruit 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Buttercup 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Fantasy In Blue 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Mediocre 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Dance Of The Infidels 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Willow Grove (Willow Groove) 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Elegy 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B0000069NH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,054 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Garry R. Garner on December 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
So many dismissive reviews from people who are under the impression that Powell couldn't play after 1949. My God, listen to "Live at Essen" recorded in 1960. His playing is as mind-boggling as ever. "The Paris Sessions" from the 50's also has some live stuff with the 3 bosses at the Blue Note that sounds modern enough to be recorded in the mid-60's. (Listen to "Be Bop"). Only in the last 1.5 years of his life were his recordings and performances consistently substandard.
As a pianist, I have devoted myself to learning Powell's repetoire, not just his originals. Obviously, I am nowhere near Powell's inhuman talents, but to truly understand what he was doing on tunes like "Mediocre", you have to learn them and play them. Currently, I have been working on the album "Time Waits", and while mostly blues-based, this music truly requires more concentration than when learning more complex-sounding songs like "Glass Enclosure" or "Parisian Thoroughfare" (Try learning "Marmalade")
"Mediocre" is not the sound of Powell's mind going, but the sound of Powell's mind going in directions that are previously foreign to "Jazz" music. Have you ever tried to play it?
Lastly, unless you have a musical resume on par with Chick Corea, one of the most Powell-like pianists around (Toshiko Akioshi is another) and obviously a Powell disciple, I wouldn't second guess him. Another thing to remember is that Powell at his worst was still better than most at their best.
Here's a fun thing to do - Take Powell's melody lines (try "Celia" or "Infidels") and apply them to a baroque structure - they fit perfectly, almost as if they were composed that way, and then adapted to bop.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Firebrand on July 11, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Eternally aped, still misunderstood, Bud Powell was the greatest jazz pianist who ever lived. PERIOD. At his zenith, unmatchable technically even by Art Tatum standards, the man created a new pianistic language, and created a music parallel to Charlie Parker (even though Parker, to this day, receives all the recognition by "experts" such as Ken Burns, while Powell's contributions are underappreciated). Chick Corea's volume is as nice an introduction to Powell as any, containing a great slice of Powell's finest moments. The prattlings of Mr. Chell down below should be ignored.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on September 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Since this is my own introduction to pioneer jazz pianist Powell, I guess I can't tell you "This is a great one-disc sampler of a jazz genius." Read the five reviews posted earlier than mine: two are helpful, one is just plain weird, and two others have complaints which I suppose are valid. All I can say is that I found my copy at a good, nay great, price, and I like it a lot. Bud predates Thelonious and Brubeck and several other favorites of mine, and it is instructive to hear him, and then them. If you like bop piano, done solo or with sparse support, from the post-WW II era, this will suit you. There is one comment by a prior reviewer which I do agree with, but it has nothing to do with Powell: he mentions that the Verve "Ultimate" series, which allows one contemporary jazz artist to select the titles issued by an earlier great, is limited to tracks that Verve owns or has the rights to, and therefore the series is not often truly representative of the player being honored. He also says that Herbie Hancock's results in choosing the songs for the Bill Evans "Ultimate" were not very satisfying. I concur. If you like Bill Evans, another great who came along after Bud Powell, "The Best of Bill Evans on Verve" is far superior to "The Ultimate Bill Evans." Of course, topping both of those CD's are Evans' original albums. Getting back to Powell, I don't know if I will explore his pre-1949 work or not, as at least one reviewer suggests. But if you've read this far with me, I can tell you that this CD has 45 minutes of toe-tappin' late 40's piano on it, all Powell compositions, and therefore, is worth owning.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have several of the "Ultimate" collections, and this, Chick Corea's selection of Bud Powell material, is the only one I return to regularly (Herbie Hancock's assemblage of Bill Evans' recordings is the least useful). Though his harmonies are predictable and his voicings relatively rudimentary, no pianist I've ever heard combined the lightning-fast, limitless melodic imagination of Bud and the dazzling yet flowing rhythmic complexity. He is, in brief, the Bird of the piano. The major disappointment of the present collection is that it omits Bud's legendary recording, "Un Poco Loco." If you can still find it, pick up "The Best of Bud Powell: The Blue Note Years," a single CD that in addition to "Un Poco Loco" includes "Bud on Bach" and "Glass Enclosure."

The latter tune is essential to supporting Mr. Chin's case (above) that Bud is beyond reproach when it comes to harmonic innovation and even piano voicings (!). The fact is that most of Bud's recordings were of standard tunes or bebop heads employing standard chord changes. Moreover, he voiced his left hand harmonies in "shell" position--meaning that the root was always in the bass. This is not a criticism but an objective observation about Bud--or maybe we should pretend that Red Garland, then Bill Evans, then Herbie, then McCoy, then Herbie, etc.--brought absolutely nothing new to the table. Mr. Chin is entitled to establish a religion based on Powell's music, but he might at least do a better job of not misrepresenting his chosen deity.
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