The Amazing Bud Powell

The Amazing Bud Powell

Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop

eBook - 2013
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Bud Powell was not only one of the greatest bebop pianists of all time, he stands as one of the twentieth century's most dynamic and fiercely adventurous musical minds. His expansive musicianship, riveting performances, and inventive compositions expanded the bebop idiom and pushed jazz musicians of all stripes to higher standards of performance. Yet Powell remains one of American music's most misunderstood figures, and the story of his exceptional talent is often overshadowed by his history of alcohol abuse, mental instability, and brutalization at the hands of white authorities. In this firs.
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press ; Chicago : Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, 2013
ISBN: 9780520955158
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Oct 13, 2019

Academic- style book writing is extremely wasteful. Ramsey's book is typical of this in its reams of quotes, copious bibliography, trendy music- commentary conceptualization foregrounding styles and labels, and tiresome acknowledgements. I took another listen to a couple of Bud Powell tracks and find that his importance can be expressed verbally in about a page or two, based around Powell's extraordinary grasp of what melody MEANS, beyond just 'being melodic'. This is what can move and compel the listener.

Apr 11, 2019

This is an excellent work by an intellectual music critic about a vastly misunderstood musical genius.

It is a bit too academic for my taste. It would be much enhanced by an accompanying music and video disc demonstrating the key elements of Powell's glorious work.

One thing that most intrigued me is the lineage of African and Caribbean traditional music to bebop. I would love to dig into this exploration, and was saddened to read of Powell's performance with African and Caribbean musicians which unfortunately was not recorded for posterity.

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