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Verve Records’ Free America Series: French Freedom

The stories of great American jazzmen like Bud Powell and Dexter Gordon taking up residence in Paris hardened into legend years ago. France afforded them a degree of respect and financial stability unobtainable in their native land. Bertrand Tavernier’s 1986 film ‘Round Midnight, which romanticized and popularized the bittersweet experience of the bebop expats, even hired Gordon to play a character modeled on Powell’s time in France.

Of course, loads of American jazz players have logged extended time all over the place across the pond-Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Johnny Griffin and Steve Lacy among them-and their forays there with European musicians have been well documented.

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