Smithsonian Collections

Bud Powell

Image for Bud Powell
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
Widely credited as “one of the architects of bebop,” Bud Powell was a foundational figure in the evolution of modern jazz piano. At sixteen, he was performing at nightspots in Harlem and Greenwich Village and frequenting after-hours jam sessions at Minton’s Playhouse—a nexus for experimental jazz. There, he found a mentor in Minton’s house pianist, Thelonious Monk, who encouraged Powell’s transition from the rhythmic regularity of the stride piano tradition to a freer and more individualistic playing style. He recorded first with Cootie Williams’s big band (1943–44) and by 1945 was part of Dizzy Gillespie’s innovative bebop combo. Recordings with Dexter Gordon (1946) and Charlie Parker (1947) followed, but in 1947 a breakdown led to Powell’s prolonged hospitalization. Thereafter, despite flashes of brilliance captured in recordings made between 1949 and 1951, his career suffered because of the fragility of his mental and physical health and his dependence on drugs and alcohol.
Considerado por muchos como “uno de los arquitectos del bebop”, Bud Powell fue una figura fundacional en la evolución del piano jazzístico moderno. A los dieciséis años ya actuaba en locales nocturnos de Harlem y Greenwich Village, y frecuentaba a altas horas los jams en Minton’s Playhouse, centro del jazz experimental. Allí encontró a Thelonious Monk, entonces pianista del Minton, quien se convirtió en su mentor y lo estimuló para que abandonara la regularidad rítmica de la tradición del stride por un estilo más libre e individual. Powell grabó primero con la big band de Cootie Williams (1943–44), y para 1945 ya era miembro del innovador combo de bebop de Dizzy Gillespie. A esto siguieron grabaciones con Dexter Gordon (1946) y Charlie Parker (1947), pero en 1947 sufrió una crisis nerviosa que lo obligó a una prolongada hospitalización. A partir de entonces, aunque tuvo momentos brillantes que constan en grabaciones realizadas entre 1949 y 1951, su carrera estuvo a merced de su fragilidad mental y física y su adicción a las drogas y el alcohol.
Artist
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010
Sitter
Bud Powell, 27 Sep 1924 - 1 Aug 1966
Date
1949 (printed 1998)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 32 × 30.3cm (12 5/8 × 11 15/16")
Sheet: 50.5 × 40.4cm (19 7/8 × 15 7/8")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
Type
Photograph
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
NPG.2014.111.22
Culture
Bud Powell: American\African American
Topic
Interior
Music\Musical instrument
Home Furnishings\Curtain
Music\Sheet music
Bud Powell: Male
Bud Powell: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist
Bud Powell: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz
Portrait
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Restrictions & Rights
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC