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Complete Bud Powell on Verve
Bud Powell
Complete Bud Powell on Verve
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #5

Bud Powell was a jazz genius, arguably the most creative and influential pianist the music has ever known. But like such legendary figures as Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Billie Holiday, he was a profoundly troubled g...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Bud Powell
Title: Complete Bud Powell on Verve
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 9/27/1994
Release Date: 9/27/1994
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Bebop
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaCD Credits: 5
UPC: 731452166920

Bud Powell was a jazz genius, arguably the most creative and influential pianist the music has ever known. But like such legendary figures as Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Billie Holiday, he was a profoundly troubled genius. Those troubles began at the age of 21 with head injuries inflicted in a police beating in 1945, and his life became a litany of arrests, hospital stays, shock treatment, over-medication, and self-medication, until he finally left America for France in 1959. This five-CD set compiles Powell's sessions for Norman Granz's Clef and Verve labels between 1949 and 1956. Like other recent Verve "completes" (Parker, Young, Holiday), it's a "warts and all" documentary of Powell's times in the recording studio, complete with false starts and unissued performances. A listener experiences both the grandeur of Powell's creativity and occasionally the sheer pathos of his inability to function at the keyboard--whether triggered by a bad day, an inadequate sideman, or unfamiliar repertoire. Disc one, with five trio and solo sessions from 1949 to 1951, presents works of unalloyed genius, with Powell defining the limits of bop piano in technique, intensity, and invention. There are treatments of some of his finest compositions, including solo versions of "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Hallucinations." At the opposite end of Powell's personal spectrum, there's the 1955 trio session that begins Disc Three, in which he is clearly struggling to play at all. Other performances fall in between, from one in which Powell makes 10 attempts at "Star Eyes" to a concluding 1956 trio session in which he somehow summons his original technique and fire for a collection of bop tunes. This is an extraordinary document, including both great music and painful drama. It's also a handsome and well-researched package. The five CDs are bound into a book that includes overviews by pianist Barry Harris and interviews with some of the musicians closest to Powell, like Max Roach, Jackie McLean, and Johnny Griffin. The four-CD Complete Blue Note and Roost Recordings, with recordings from the same era, is an essential companion. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

The best and the worst of Powell
lexo-2 | 12/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The five stars are for the whole package, not necessarily a reflection of the music. This is a fitting testament to one of jazz's greatest musicians, truly a man worthy of sharing a stage with Charlie Parker (even if, as happened on one famous occasion, they started swearing at each other.) Besides the five discs - which represent everything Powell recorded for either Verve, Mercury or Norgran Records - there's a hundred page booklet with many photos, testimonials, and an analysis of the tracks by two jazz pianists. The music itself is often dazzling, as in the furious version of "Tea for Two"; surely humans can't think that fast. On some of the later discs, Powell has lost control completely and the result is painful listening. The bulk of the material is pretty good; the other extremes are also represented, Powell at his incandescent best and his stumbling, chaotic worst. But that's what you get when you want the Complete Bud Powell. If you're a Powell fanatic, this is an essential complement to Blue Note's box set of Bud's earlier work. If you're not, you're better off getting a slimmer compilation."
Blackberry Tea | Kansas | 09/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Everybody knows how good the early Verve stuff is ... which makes up about 30% of this set. Everybody has heard that the later Verve stuff is junk. So, having owned the early stuff on individual CDs, I was a little reluctant to pick this up.Big mistake.The later years, ranging from 1954 to 1956 include a wealth of very, very good material. Yes, there is some junk, but it can be passed over easily enough. Using the track by track analysis by Barry Harris (in the booklet) and Carl Smith's book on Bud, I was able to cull out a couple hours worth of wonderful material and burn it onto my own CDs.My take-away is this. The early Verve is some of the best jazz piano on record. Maybe the best of the post-war era. But ... when you listen to stronger "later Verve" stuff, it stands up with the best of anything from say Horace Silver, Sonny Clark or Wynton Kelly. Frankly it is often better, because the genius never left Bud. The level of invention is still way high.Highly recommended."
Bud's BEST work
Il Dottore | Buffalo, NY | 02/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I want to dispel an illusions here. This set does NOT reflect Bud's decline, but Bud's GROWTH as an artist. Too many people have bought sheepishly into the common criticisms and have closed their ears. This box set is far superior to the Blue Note set, not a "supplement" (see above review). The first disc has all the dazzlingy brillaint early technique of his early carrear (though quite the bold experimentation of the first blue note disc). But in the 3rd 4rth discs, his technique, still in prime, is used les towards dazzling speed and more towards variety and expression. he is clearly listening to and influenced by Errol Garner and G. Shearing and Monk in a fascinating way here that one doesn't get at all in the blue note set. He is searching and experimental but always expressive and exciting. Listen to the abstract alt takes of i get a kick out of you or the lyricism of tenderly. He doesn;t reach these hights on ANY of the mid 50s Blue Note stuff. And yet people say he is stumbling!! listen again. ONly the very last set has him poorly articulating ("slurring") his phrases. BUt even here, with ray brown backing him, he has flashes of brilliance. This, along with O COleman's Beauty is a Rare thing, may be the best musical buy i ever made. I can only say: listen openly and judge for your self"