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Ultimate Bud Powell

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 24, 1998
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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: #440,554 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will be brief. I don't like hearing the piano by itself. Many of the tracks had no bass/drums rhythm section so they were not what I liked.

Also, I like Jazz music that swings, and some of the songs did not swing.

But the man is an outstanding player and I could hear the classical influence in his playing in that not all of the songs had "swing" but were still very musical, highly technical, and fast. I would say that sometimes his music is just too fast for my tastes, and I feel it reaches a point to where it is not as melodic. I like melodic music.

In the future, I will make sure I sample the CD to ensure the song selections are more what I want to hear. I much prefer his later work, "Bud Powell in Paris." He plays slower, with a rhythm section that was quite good, the sound quality was better although it was recorded live and there is background noise that can be annoying - including what I assume are Powell's humming along with his playing.
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