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Mad Bebop

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Album Review

Mad Bebop explores four historical sessions marking the development of pianist Bud Powell. Originally recorded for the Savoy label in 1946 and 1947, these 14 tracks were issued under the leaders' names — Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, J.J. Johnson, and Charlie Parker — with Powell listed as a sideman. During this period Bird and Powell's development ran parallel to each other, as both were combining incredible speed with limitless improvising dexterity, as heard on "Chasin' the Bird," "Cheryl," and "Buzzy." Those three tracks also mark the amazingly lucid interplay of Powell and Parker before their improvising virtuosity began to deteriorate due to mental illness. Jazz collectors no doubt already own this material but may want to investigate this reissue, as it features state-of-the-art transfers from acetates and tape masters.


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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