Song of the Day: Bud Powell – “Un Poco Loco”

Pianist Bud Powell, who together with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would be enshrined as one of the architects of bebop, was born on this day (September 27) in Harlem, New York, in 1924. Powell grew up in Harlem’s powerful stride-piano tradition, counting Art Tatum and Willie “The Lion” Smith as influences. While playing the uptown club circuit in the 1940s, he befriended fellow pianist and Harlem native Thelonious Monk, and together, the two would piece together an advanced harmonic language that in time would become the foundation for bebop piano. It wasn’t long before Powell found himself in the company of Parker, Gillespie and other bebop stalwarts, and as bebop picked up steam around the country, Powell became one of its most recognizable faces. His 1951 composition “Un Poco Loco,” which blended idioms from bebop and Afro-Cuban music, remains his calling card. We present hear as our Song of the Day. Happy Birthday, Bud!

 

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