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Bud Powell

Bud Powell (September 27, 1924 - July 31, 1966) is widely considered to have been the most influential pianist in the history of jazz. He was instrumental in the development of bebop. His first recordings were made with the Cootie Williams Band in 1944, when he was 20, and his last recordings were made in 1964 at Birdland after his return from several years in Europe. Powell's father was a stride pianist, and Bud studied with Thelonious Monk, who dedicated In Walked Bud to him.

He suffered from various mental illnesses, which may have been exacerbated by a beating he received from the police in his youth, and he was placed several times in mental institutions, where he was treated with electroshock therapies. During his sojourn in Europe starting in 1959, he was cared for by Francis Paudras, a commercial artist and amateur pianist. Paudras later wrote a book about the experience. Its English title is Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell (the title is derived from one of Bud's compositions). The book was the basis of Round Midnight, a film inspired by the lives of Bud Powell and Lester Young, in which Dexter Gordon played the lead role of an expatriate jazzman in Paris.

Selected compositions

External Reference