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Joshua Breakstone: The Music of Bud Powell

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As Breakstone points out in his notes, Bud Powell is severely underrated as a composer. What credit he does get (and it is nowhere near enough) is as a soloist. A guitar-trio record wouldn’t seem the ideal showcase for Bud’s richly harmonized compositions, but the lines stand well on their own, and the setting of Un Poco Loco is most impressive.

Breakstone is a fluid and convincing soloist with a style perfectly suited to Bud’s bop. His lines build logically and even at breakneck speed he’s in command of his box. I like the way he paces himself, developing his ideas in a leisurely way even when they involve a long stream of eighth notes. I also like the way he refers back to the melodies and his penchant for sly, unobvious quotes (was that the “Harlem Nocturne” bridge in the middle of “Una Noche Con Francis”? Sure was.)

Keith Copeland proves his considerable worth as a big-eared drummer, and Earl Sauls has a great bass sound and understands the importance of staying out of the leader’s way. The trio interplay is terrific, the guitar soloing top-notch, and the choice of material exemplary. How can you go wrong?