A "must have" DVD for all jazz enthusiasts
Robert D. Glover Jr. | Linden, NJ USA | 07/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Until this DVD came to my attention, I did not realize there was any footage of Bud Powell other than some grainy footage on YouTube, and so I bought this DVD with great antipication. Receiving this DVD was a moving experience for me because I had heard Bud Powell on record and later CD many times but had no concept of what he looked like performing. I watched the DVD many times the first month I owned it. I even bought 3 more copies and gave them to people who could appreciate it.
In all it's about 45 minutes of Bud Powell playing piano in three different night clubs in Europe in the late 1950's and early 1960's. These three separate performances were originally shown on European TV. I know someone who was in the audience at one of those night clubs and saw Bud Powell play, although it was not on the night the footage of that club was shot. He told me that Powell was by then so psychotic that he played a song twice in a row without realizing he had done so.
The best part for me was actually seeing Bud Powell's hands as he played with the "flat finger" technique that is so at odds with classical training but which seems to work rather well to say the least. Also, it was an opportunity to get a sense of what it was like for Bud Powell to play in clubs, both from the point of view of being in the audience as well as from the point of view of being a working musician during that era.
Similar to watching Art Tatum, there is not a lot of visual entertainment because both these piano players (as well as Charlie Parker) kept rather still and concerned themselves only with the sounds they created, not what they looked like. They are musicians, not entertainers.
It's important to watch this DVD perhaps ten times. But eventually one must move on. Maybe twice a year it's worthwhile seeing the DVD again.