Bud Powell moved to Paris, France at the end of March 1959. A 1954 arrest in Philadelphia for possession of heroin had cost him his cabaret card after his 1955 guilty plea in the case, so, for several years, he had been legally barred from steady gigs in New York City and had had to, instead, rely on out-‐of-‐town bookings, which did not always go well, given his mental problems and addictions. In contrast, a two-‐week engagement in November 1957, at Club Saint-‐ Germain in Paris, had gone well. Once in Paris, Powell soon hooked up with drummer Kenny Clarke, with whom he had made history in the previous decade on the jam sessions and recordings in which bebop was created. He and Clarke played at the Blue Note for all of April; in December, they reconvened at the club, with bassist Pierre Michelot and— avoiding the question of who was the bandleader, though it was Bud who called the tunes—billed themselves as The Three Bosses. With time out for tours and festival appearances, they worked there for much of 1960 and '61 The first three tracks here, with Zoot Sims, date from January 1961. The longer trio set, recorded by Alan Douglas, is from later the same year.
In January 1962, the Blue Note fired Powell for stealing a customer's drink. Powell's post-‐1953 work is generally denigrated, and certainly this always erratic artist, after a police beating, various shock therapies crudely administered during involuntary stays at mental institutions, the ravages of heroin and alcohol abuse, and the side effects of chlorpromazine AKA thorazine, was only rarely able to approach the top-‐notch digital technique he had flaunted in his youth. But sometimes, as in these concerts, he had good nights, and the greater expressiveness of his later years has its own attractions. His time in France rejuvenated him and spared him the hassles and, to some degree, the temptations of New York that had dragged him down. Nearing the sunset of his career, his musical light could still burst through the clouds and dazzle his faithful listeners. Just listen to him navigate the fleet tempos of these bebop standards. This edition restores the original LP cover art by Francis Paudras, who did so much to shelter Powell, literally and figuratively, during his time in Paris.
1. Groovin' High 2.Taking a Chance on Love 3. Bud's Blues/52nd Street Theme 4. There Will Never Be Another You 5. Thelonious 6. 'Round Midnight 7. A Night in Tunisia 8. Monk's Mood 9. Shaw Nuff 10. Lover Man 11. 52nd Street Theme.