Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bud Powell and Don Byas : A Tribute to Cannonball

These three recordings are a testament to the restorative powers of Bud Powell’s European sojourn. Recorded within a three day span in December ’61, A Tribute To Cannonball and A Portrait Of Thelonious also argue that the pianist had considerable stamina. Together with a crisply remastered audiophile edition of Bouncing With Bud (recorded in April ’62 and originally issued on Storyville), they offer an invaluable insight into the autumnal glories of Powell’s early ’60s output.

Powell’s session with Swing Era tenor titan Don Byas was produced by Cannonball Adderley (who also supervised Powell’s homage to Monk), whose only miscue was suggesting a staple of his own quintet book-Duke Pearson’s hard bop cooker “Jeanine”-which is the most tentatively rendered piece of the set. Otherwise, the date is a fascinating study of how Powell highlights the pre-echoes of bop in Byas’ style, and how the tenorist buttresses Powell’s roots in the music of the ’30s. They are totally in command of the demanding fast tempos on “Just One of Those Things” and “Cherokee,” racing through the choruses with precision and flair. Their “I Remember Clifford” is one of the most sanctified takes on the classic ever recorded. And, they have spunk to spare on “Good Bait.” Throughout the proceedings, Powell and Byas enjoy the collegial rapport of Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot (the bassist also contributes two solid compositions: “Jackie My Little Cat,” a languorous ballad, and “Myth,” a streamlined blowing vehicle). Trumpeter Idrees Sulieman fattens up the ensembles on four cuts and holds his own as a soloist.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published