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Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop

by Guthrie P Ramsey University of California Press
Pub Date:
03/2013
ISBN:
9780520243910
Format:
Hbk 254 pages
Price:
AU$69.00 NZ$71.30
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Bud Powell was not only one of the greatest bebop pianists of all time, he stands as one of the twentieth centurys most dynamic and fiercely adventurous musical minds. His expansive musicianship, riveting performances, and inventive compositions expanded the bebop idiom and pushed jazz musicians of all stripes to higher standards of performance. Yet Powell remains one of American musics most misunderstood figures, and the story of his exceptional talent is often overshadowed by his history of alcohol abuse, mental instability, and brutalization at the hands of white authorities. In this first extended study of the social significance of Powells place in the American musical landscape, Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. shows how the pianist expanded his own artistic horizons and moved his chosen idiom into new realms. Illuminating and multi-layered, The Amazing Bud Powell centralizes Powells contributions as it details the collision of two vibrant political economies: the discourses of art and the practice of blackness.

Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. "Cullud Boys with Beards": Serious Black Music and the Art of Bebop
2. Something Else: The Tests and Triumphs of a Modernist
3. Notes and Tones: Black Genius in the Social Order
4. Making the Changes: Jazz Manhood, Bebop Virtuosity, and a New Social Contract
5. Exploding Narratives and Structures in the Art of Bud Powell
Coda: Cultural Validation and Requiem for a Heavyweight

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Credits
Index

"Equal parts biography, historiography, and music analysis, Ramsey's brilliant study represents a much-needed examination of one of jazz's most influential pianists and artists."
Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the prize-winning Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (UC Press).