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Bud Powell Tracks Unearthed

Bud Powell may have died 38 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to influence and inspire many of today’s great jazz musicians. So it should come as no surprise that Piadrum Records would choose to release an album of never-before heard solo performances recorded during the last years of his life.

The album, titled Eternity, after the title of a poem Bud wrote at King County Hospital one week before he died, will be released November 2 and collects tracks recorded from 1961-64 at the Paris home of friend Francis Paudras. The first three tracks-“Spring is Here,” “Shaw’Nuff,” and “A Night in Tunisia,” along with “I’ll Keep Loving You,” “Idaho,” and “Mary’s Improvisation”-were recorded in 1961, while tracks five through seven-“‘Round Midnight,” “I Hear Music,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”-were recorded in 1962. Interestingly, “Joshua’s Blue” is a blues piece that was originally untitled on the master and Powell wrote “Blues for Bouffemont” while staying in a sanatorium of the same name and recorded it in 1964.

Paudras described Powell’s interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s repertory during this period and said, “Bud seemed to want to transmit another message to his old friend, the calm and serene contemplation of an artist who has come to the point where he now wants to say only the essential, uncontrived beauty, art without artifice.”

Powell made a name for himself as a bop pianist during the 1940s and ’50s as he played at nightclubs around New York City, working with Dizzy Gillespie, Allen Eager and Sid Catlett. He was also a composer, writing several appealing and unusual melodies, such as “Hallucinations (also known as “Budo”), “Oblivion,” and “Glass Enclosure.”

But because he suffered from mental illness for many years, he spent much of the time between 1947 and 1959 in mental hospitals around the city. In 1959, after his health improved, he moved to Paris and began playing again, forming a group with Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot called the Three Bosses. But he returned to New York in 1964, where he stayed until he died from tuberculosis on July 31, 1966.

Eternity track list:

1. Spring Is Here

2. Shaw’Nuff

3. A Night in Tunisia

4. Joshua’s Blues

5. ‘Round Midnight

6. I Hear Music

7. Someone to Watch Over Me

8. I’ll Keep Loving You

9. Idaho

10. Blues for Bouffemont

11. Deep Night

12. But Beautiful

13. Mary’s Improvisation

Originally Published