Bud Powell – Eternity

Bud Powell

(Piadrum Records – 2004)
by Phyllis A. Lodge

“Eternity” comprises pianist Bud Powell’s last recorded work from the early 1960’s, compliments of writer Francis Paudra’s piano that Bud played during his last years. Fortunately, again, Paudra’s tape recorder was running during these ‘purely Bud’ sessions. We also have to thank Producer Jessica Shih and Celia Powell, Bud’s daughter, Co-producer of this magnificent compilation of Bud Powell’s music.

“Eternity” finds Bud revisiting classics like “Spring Is Here”, that so appropriately opens this CD. “‘Shaw nuff’ is the paradigm of classic bebop. “Night In Tunisia” is treated gently, the way one treats a trusted friend, while “I’ll Keep Loving You” is a deeply wistful statement. We even hear the pianist’s voice, announcing several tunes with touching innocence such as “Deep Night” and “But Beautiful”. And Bud’s “Round Midnight”, a personal favorite of mine, draws a sigh from me at each listening.

“Eternity” is a testimonial to Powell’s lyricism, enhanced by his amazing ability to mix key signatures within one phrase, as in “I Hear Music”. Bud’s expression possesses an uncanny poetic grace (to echo Jessica Shih’s comment) in turning a musical phrase. Note “Someone to Watch Over Me”. I must point out that Mary’s Improvisation (Tenderly, improvised) and Joshua’s Blues, another great bebop treatment, are extraordinarily special. They’re named for Celia’s children.

Bud Powell’s “Eternity” performances are a beckoning glimpse into the oft-hazy vistas of “jazz” at it’s most classic — meaning its purest — especially as rendered by this undisputed master. Bud retained the delicate intricacies of his musical ‘voice’ even with all the stuff he endured in this life. (Read Bud’s poem, “Eternity”, in the liner notes.) Then listen to Idaho and Blues for Bouffemont to feel the highs and lows of his musical emotion. The admittedly less than ideal condition of the piano further attests to Bud’s artistic fortitude. This collection of pianist Bud Powell’s music is truly beyond mere words. “Eternity” simply must be experienced. It is its own reward.

Co-Producer, Celia Powell deserves the last word here.

“This CD emphasizes the power of one spirit driven to live through his music. His mission was realized, and his music has given life to me, my children and his fans, who have kept him very much alive….. As always, his creations of new improvisations show he is not finished, for there is more to be said. The infinite power of my father never ceases to amaze me. I am so glad I have Someone to Watch Over Me….” Celia Powell

[Spring Is Here; Shaw ‘Nuff; A Night In Tunisia; Joshua’s Blues; ‘Round Midnight; I Hear Music; Someone To Watch Over Me; I’ll Keep Loving You; Idaho; Blues for Bouffemont; Deep Night; But Beautiful; Mary’s Improvisation]