Monk and Powell: Jazz Pianists in 1954

The Amazing Bud Powell Vol. 2

Artist: Bud Powell

Genre: Bebop

Year: 1954

Grade: A-

Compared to, say, Volume One, the songs on the sequel are a bit more frantic — something seems to be slightly off. “Autumn in New York” opens the LP with serene beauty, but the six songs that follow are erratic in nature, especially when compared to the fluidity of Powell’s previous work. It isn’t until the final song that Powell reaffirms his position as one of the preeminent jazz masters of the era: “Glass Enclosure” is unquestionably Powell’s greatest achievement, a harrowing fantasia that reflects the composer’s own madness.

Thelonious Monk Trio

Artist: Thelonious Monk

Year: 1954

Genre: Bebop

Grade: A

Thelonious Monk leads bassist Gerry Mapp and drummers Max Roach and Art Blakey on this cozy set of future standards. Monk’s dissonant, slightly off-kilter chord progressions are warm and welcoming despite their occasional harsh atonality.

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