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Ups and Downs
Bud Powell
Ups and Downs
Genre: Jazz


CD Details

All Artists: Bud Powell
Title: Ups and Downs
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mainstream
Genre: Jazz
Style: Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 027285724520

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CD Reviews

Painful yet proud
ccex | Chicago, IL | 04/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When I first hear this almost 30 years ago, it was the more tragic and painful than anything I had heard before (or since). This album probably contains the last recordings of Bud Powell, although its circumstances have always been shrouded in mystery. The liner notes by Nat Hentoff, who says that this is from the mid-'50s and some of Bud's best playing is obviously wrong on both counts. Bud Powell experts agree that this was made in New York after he lost his late 1964 Birdland gig.

The most painful track of all is the solo "Round Midnight", which is probably from the Charlie Parker Memorial Concert in March of 1965. His guardian at the time, Bernard Stollman of ESP-Disk, swears that he destroyed the concert tapes, since he saw that Bud was in no shape to play, had fallen down, and was bleeding on the keyboard. Still, this track remains, showing Bud as a mere shadow of the keyboard technician he used to be, but as intense as ever. Compare this to the version of the same song he recorded with Bird and Fats Navarro in 1950, and you'll hear the tragedy of Bud Powell.

"Like Someone In Love" was Bud's mini-concerto late in his career, and this version still shows his early stride influences and some vestigial arpeggios.

The rest of the album sounds more together than most of what he recorded at Birdland in '64 or late in his stay in Paris. He keeps the groove burning on mid-tempo numbers, even though his once celebrated technique vanished after years of electro-shock therapy, tuberculosis, largactyl, and alcohol. No one knows who the drummer and bass player are, but they aid and abet wonderfully. They even navigate Coltrane's "Moment's Notice".

Bud Powell freaks know that ESP-Disk's Bernard Stollman tried to get Bud to record at Town Hall in May, '65, and again later in the year, and finally with Rashied Ali and Scotty Holt in Jan. '66 (Bud finally died at age 41 in July, '66). Nothing is known of those attempted sessions, or how this one came to be.

I hope to be able to play so passionately on my deathbed! I recommend this heartily only for other Bud Powell fans."