Bud Powell

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About Bud Powell

Born in New York in 1924, pianist Earl Rudolph “Bud” Powell was one of the key architects of the modern jazz form known as bebop. By the early 1940s, he’d become an associate of fellow bebop pioneer and pianist Thelonious Monk, who went on to name his composition “In Walked Bud” after Powell. His ability to perform at breakneck tempos led to work with bebop progenitors Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, including his participation in the legendary Jazz at Massey Hall concert in Toronto in 1953 alongside double bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach. From 1947, Powell’s declining mental and physical health led to frequent hospitalizations, severely affecting his career. He moved to Paris in 1959; his four-year stay in France served as the fictionalized basis of the 1986 film Round Midnight. He returned to New York in 1963, passing away three years later at age 41. His recordings for Blue Note and Verve remain timeless jazz classics.

Harlem, New York, NY
September 27, 1924
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