Personnel: Bud Powell (piano); Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Fats Navarro
(trumpet); Tommy Potter, Curley Russell (bass); Roy Haynes, Max Roach (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at WOR studios, New York, New York on August 8, 1949 and May 1, 1951. Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather.
Digitally remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.
This is part of Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder Editions series.
The first eight of the 15 tracks on this Blue Note disc come from 1949; here Bud Powell is at the height of his powers, and the band--Fats Navarro, Sonny Rollins, Tommy Potter, and Roy Haynes--plays with an easy authority. Three takes of "Bouncing with Bud" are included, but the master take is the best. Bud's solos are charged with struggle, light, and clarity. "Wail," an up-tempo original based on the "Rhythm" changes, demonstrates the intellectuality and grace of Bud's thought process. Listen to how the smooth inevitability of Fats Navarro's solo is seamlessly followed by a rhythmically incisive Powell.
Bud's presence is strong and compelling throughout. On "Dance of the Infidels," you can hear him vocalizing behind his solos, and his playing on the manic "52nd Street Theme" is respectfully Monk-like. On the ballad "You Go to My Head" (a trio tune), his touch is infused with a light, yearning quality. The recordings (the original sessions were produced by Alfred Lion) are rough enough to allow the listener to feel the excitement and grit, but every note and cymbal hit is audible and balanced.