This is my third CD for Double-Time Records, and the second dedicated to the compositions of a great jazz pianist. In the case of Let's Call This Monk! (Double-Time Dtrcd-121), that pianist was Thelonious Monk. Monk's's compositions are original, ingenious, readily identifiable- a world of their own really, and so much so, that his playing, even at its most luminous, has been somewhat overshadowed by the ubiquitous presence of his compositions within the standard jazz repertoire.
Here we pay tribute to Bud Powell, who is generally remembered in just the opposite way from Monk- as a soloist first. It wasn't until I began assembling the music for this CD that it dawned on me just how prolific a composer Bud Powell really was. Here we have ten of his compositions, representing some of his more widely known pieces, as well as a few lesser known items- ten songs, despite the absence of such widely known items as Dance of the Infidels, Bouncing With Bud, Parisian Thoroughfare, John's Abbey, Oblivion, So Sorry Please, Webb City, and Wail (also known as Fool's Fancy and co-authored- as with Strictly Confidential, which appears here- by trumpeter Kenny Dorham). There are at least another dozen beyond these which I would love to have included but, alas, for lack of time (chief among them being Blue Pearl and I'll Keep Loving You). I chose material that speaks to me personally, and which also serves to demonstrate the scope of Bud's writing, both in terms of approach and emotional range. When we hear a song like Tempus Fugit (or Un Poco Loco, Oblivion, etc) and then Comin' Up (or Buttercup or Borderick) we can't help but ask ourselves if they could really have been written by the same person- Bud could sound so childlike, playful, innocent, and at other times so possessed, driven, intense. He was emotional. In his songs we get a glimpse of some of the people he loved- Celia (his daughter), Buttercup (ladyfriend), Francis (friend, advocate, protector). Bud was deep.
When we make a recording that's a dedication, we in no way attempt to duplicate or imitate the person to whom we're paying tribute. In all cases, such an attempt would be, I think, ill-advised, and in the case of Bud Powell, insane. What we've tried to do here is express our love and appreciation of Bud's genius by playing his music in our own way. And in achieving this end I want to thank and acknowledge my fellow musicians.
I've performed with bassist Earl Sauls since the early '80s (he can also be heard on my first two recordings, Wonderful! with Barry Harris, and 4/4+1 with Kenny Barron). He's performed with the likes of Howard McGhee, Pepper Adams, Joe Albany, Stan Getz, and Warne Marsh among many others. He gets that sound I love- a big natural bass sound.
Keith Copeland, son of the late trumpet great Ray Copeland, has appeared on more than eighty recordings (including three of mine- Echoes, with Pepper Adams and Kenny Barron, Evening Star with Tommy Flanagan and Jimmy Knepper, and Sittin' on the Thing with Ming, with Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond), and is a leader in his own right, with five recordings under his own name to date. Past associations have included Johnny Griffin, George Russell, The Heath Brothers, Sam Jones, Billy Taylor, Hank Jones, and Frank Foster-to mention just a few among hundreds. Keith is also widely known as an educator and clinician. His book, "Creative Coordination for the Performing Drummer" (Carl Fischer) is regarded as a text. Since Feb. of '93, Keith's been living in Frankfurt, Germany and is a tenured Professor at the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne.
Our rendition of Celia here is for Celia Curtis, who is as lovely as this song. This recording is dedicated to the genius of Bud Powell. And to you, Nathalie- without your love this recording would never have been made.