- Category : Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/3 - Role Model / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Healing 2
American Jazz pianist, a virtuoso of the bebop era of the 1940s and 50s. A close friend of composer/pianist Thelonious Monk, Powell played on the first known recording of Monk's "'Round Midnight" with the Cootie Williams Orchestra on August 22, 1944.
Powell suffered head trauma after being beaten by police in a Philadelphia nightclub on January 21, 1945, while trying to protect Monk from arrest. His injury either caused or exacerbated existing mental illness, and he was hospitalized periodically from November 1947 to February 5, 1953, receiving electro-shock therapy which caused some memory loss. In between hospital stays, Powell continued to perform live and on some of the era's greatest jazz recordings.
An alcoholic and drug user, Powell escaped arrest for heroin possession on August 15, 1951 at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, thanks to Monk's taking the rap to protect Powell from further harm. This act of loyalty cost Monk the use of his cabaret card for six years, barring him from performing in any New York City establishment where liquor was served.
Three months after his final release from Creedmore Psychiatric Center, Powell took part in the highly-touted "Quintet of the Year" concert alongside saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach on May 15, 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Powell's younger brother Richie, also a jazz pianist, was killed alongside trumpeter Clifford Brown in a car accident outside Bedford Pa. in th early morning hours of June 26, 1956.
Powell moved to Paris, France in 1959, living there until his return to New York City on August 16, 1964. While in France, he befriended Francis Paudras, a musician and fan who became Powell's caretaker during his European stay. Paudras published his account of their friendship in the 1986 biography "Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell", which was adapted in part for the 1986 movie "'Round Midnight", starring Powell's onetime collaborator, saxophonist Dexter Gordon.
Powell died from tuberculosis, malnutrition and alcoholism at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn NY at 9:40 p.m. on July 31, 1966.