Saturday, November 04, 2006
Walks with Bud and Dexter
Bud Powell's mumbles from the piano chair on Our Man In Paris are audible throughout the record and I love it. They are part of the in-the-moment risk and ABANDONEMENT that is jazz. They should be sampled, I think, and stand as art.
Though considered to be past his prime by some, hollowed-out and cast upon shores of oblivion by drugs, electro-shock, and police beatings, Bud emerges here triumphant in raw brilliance.
Francis Paudras reminisces from (again) Dance of the Infidels about this period when Dexter Gordon and Bud were staying with him in Paris:
"If we left together, we would go for long walks through the silent streets. Sometimes Dexter Gordon came with us and I can remember his warm and resonant voice echoing through the streets. he walked on one sidewalk and Bud on the other: while I took the middle of the street.
Dexter didn't speak to Bud. He sang, in a perfect imitation of Billy Eckstine's langorous vibrato. Bud laughed til he cried. We wandered aimlessly. Time didn't matter. I remember those moments as something unreal. Dexter was blessed with eternal youth. Even close to death, nothing ever eroded his natural good humor.
Bud's and Dexter's language, like their music, had a special sound, a kind of swing based on an inner tempo. They had recorded together very early. I owned the records of the Savoy sessions of January 1946, and I had listened to them until I wore out the grooves. It seemed inconceivable to see them there together, like two kids, strolling through the night."
* pictured above, Bud Powell