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The master at work
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 01/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best documents of Powell's live performances. The sound-quality is acceptable--the only flaw is that while Powell & Roy Haynes are caught well, Mingus's bass is often very obscured (I can barely make out the notes he's playing). The recordings were made in Washington in 1953, & the material is a collection of typical bop chestnuts--"I Want to Be Happy", "Salt Peanuts", "Little Willie Leaps", "Woody n' You". Powell is in amazingly sharp form--none of the stumbles & vaguenesses of his later, lesser work: he's got a decent piano & gives it a very crisp attack. One of hte pleasures here is that while most of the tunes are dispatched in 3-4 minutes, a few of them considerably stretch beyond the length of your typical bop single, notably a 9-minute version of "Salt Peanuts".There is a 5-minute interview at the end, conducted in 1963 in two parts, in France. This was recorded while Powell was recovering from tubreculosis in a sanatorium; on the first he sounds extremely haggard & spaced-out, on the second rather better. Though they don't contain any extraordinary insights they're rather moving to hear.Great stuff for bop aficionados; casual listeners will probably want something in better sound unless they're used to listening to airshot material & the like. Ignore the supremely tasteless cover art (it shows Bud Powell's head distorted into a picture of madness, Francis-Bacon-style), & check it out."
POST BOP WITH A SMATTERING OF THE AVANT-GARDE
D. Garcia | Los Angeles | 06/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"More like 4.5 stars. Half a star off for not having more innovative compositional architecture.
Powell - Piano, Charles Mingus - Bass, Roy Haynes - Drums, 5 Apr 1953 club Kavakos Washington DC. Recording sounds pretty good to me. Drums and Bass come across pretty clearly. Cymbals are nice and bright. Piano might not be miked the best.
This is mostly bop type stuff with subtle twists and turns in and out of the coming avant-garde territory. Powell's playing is probably on par with Sun Ra or Sphere Monk's playing in '53. These guys are obviously way over my head in what they are doing but I'm going to make some guesses. Adding a quarter note to some bars or abandoning strict meter on occasion. Mostly bop chord changes but occasionally some very unexpected and dissonant intervals or changes. Not to much in the way of ballads or pretty stuff. Salt Peanuts is taken at a pretty rapid tempo and its lot of fun to listen to.
Mingus and Haynes are "basically" a support rhythm section but of course these guys will get in their voices and viewpoints, on occasion, despite their respectful support of Powell.
I know that most people into bop and post bop are into the horn players and I understand why. It's that linear thing and the exactitude of embouchure. Yeah it's cool. But I've always thought Bud Powell is, and was under appreciated. Guys on this level have a depth of knowledge that is amazing and it comes across on this recording."
Live Bud Powell in peak form
L. Chin | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This April 1953 Washington DC concert recording is a treasure. Powell (with Charles Mingus on bass and Roy Haynes on drums) at peak form. His speed, articulation and creativity here are awesome. Because Bill Potts recorded this historic set on portable equipment, so the sound quality is not good. But this is easily overlooked. Includes two interviews of Powell from 1963 while recovering in the Bouffemont sanitorium."