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  1. Go figure how any of this happened. But it did. Has the reading of "Monologue" here been issued anywhere? I think it's the best ever.
  2. "Bud has to pour himself into that piano; it's the only friend he really talks to." — Altevia "Buttercup" Edwards (Powell) I'm going to guess that this is not the first Powell record that people reach for when they want to listen to Bud Powell. Recorded in two different sessions in 1955, it's an odd mixture of high and low: effortless lines reminiscent of his brilliant mid-40's playing, and then suddenly blunted, aimless fragments while the rhythm section keeps things afloat. Nat Hentoff's original liner notes make no effort to disguise this: "Bud's records are, in this respect, like his live appearances. They're not consistent. Some may be distorted in various ways throughout an entire album; some may come fully alive only in sections ... " What a way to promote a purchase! Hentoff's notes got me thinking about Powell's mental illness, however — and the fact that Powell was put on Chlorpromazine, which was a brand new drug as of 1950 — and to what extent he might have experienced tardive dyskinesia (involuntary and repetitive movements of the face, torso, and sometimes fingers), which is a common, and serious, side effect of Chlorpromazine. What Powell had to overcome, just in order to play, might still not be known. At any rate, despite its curiosities and shortcomings, I find this record an intriguing listen — particularly the Monk cover of "Epistrophy." Anyone else spin this one in the last year? What do you think? I know that Powell fans "like it all," but this one stands out in that it's neither great nor a portrait of chaos.