Bud Powell: Parisian Thoroughfare (solo piano version)
Bud Powell (piano)
The Best of Bud Powell on Verve (Verve 314 523 392-2)
Bud Powell (piano).
Composed by Bud Powell.
Recorded: New York, February 1951
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Bud Powell’s solo piano session from early 1951 ranks among his finest dates. At a time when few modern jazz pianists dared to play without bass and drums, Powell proved that he could forge a distinctive style in an unaccompanied format. “Parisian Thoroughfare” is one of his gentlest compositions – “a Schubert tune with a Gershwin touch,'' in the words of a famous Ellington lyric – and his playing takes on an impressionist shimmer, before settling into unadulterated bop for the solo. Later in 1951, Powell would be back in a mental institution, and after his release in 1953 the pianist would only rarely match the sweep and majesty of earlier work. In 1959, Powell would settle in Paris, but ironically none of his work in the City of Lights would capture the Parisian spirit quite as adeptly as this gem he recorded at age 26.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia