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The Quintessence: New York 1944-1949

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Album Review

With the exceptions of classic Bird and Diz, these Bud Powell sides cut when he was at the height of his game represent some of the best of the bop era. Powell was on the bench with Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Kenny Clarke, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Fats Navarro, and the list goes on and on. The sound is fair to middling on some of the earlier performances, but you can hear everything in this cleaned-up mix. Powell aficionados will have everything here (if anything, there is a bit of overkill given that this is a double-disc set with 36 tracks), but this is an excellent introduction to arguably bebop's signature pianist.


Born: 27 September 1924 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the giants of the jazz piano, Bud Powell changed the way that virtually all post-swing pianists play their instruments. He did away with the left-hand striding that had been considered essential earlier and used his left hand to state chords on an irregular basis. His right often played speedy single-note lines, essentially transforming Charlie Parker's vocabulary to the piano (although he developed parallel to "Bird"). Tragically, Bud Powell was a seriously ill genius. After being encouraged...
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