Bud Powell

The Madness of Bud Powell
April 02, 2010

Every artist has a story, or so we in the audience for art like to believe. In music, certainly—particularly in styles of music rich in abstraction, such as the avant-garde and jazz­—it’s easier for us to make something of challenging work if we can conceive of the composer or performer in easy-to-grasp narrative terms. If we imagine John Coltrane as a sojourning mystic, we can process his difficult late work as mystical sojourning.

The Singer's Singer's Singer
March 26, 2010

I don't mean to imply that we're friends or anything, because I know him far less well than he knows a zillion other people, but I happened to be at the same jazz club that Tony Bennett went to a few nights ago, and we ended up talking for a little while. Bennett and I and our wives (who are about the same age, I think) had all gone to Dizzy's, one of the three glorious performance venues in the otherwise cheesy Jazz at Lincoln Center building, to see the pianist and singer Barbara Carroll.