For much of his life he wrestled with inner demons. Hospitalized repeatedly, he was treated with ECT (electroshock). But when he was seated at the piano, his fingers moved across the keyboard with the grace and elegance of a ballet dancer.
Bud Powell, “Anthropology,” live, Denmark (Copenhagen), 1962
Bill Evans on Bud Powell
He was so expressive, such emotion flowed out of him! There are different kinds of emotion: there is the easy, superficial kind, and there is another kind, that doesn’t make you laugh or cry, that doesn’t make you feel anything but a sense of sheer perfection. It’s a feeling we sometimes get with Beethoven. . . . It’s not that it’s beautiful in the sense of pretty or brilliant, it’s something else, something much deeper. . . . If I had to choose one single musician for his artistic integrity, for the grandeur of his work, it would be Bud Powell. He was in a class by himself.—Bill Evans (in Francis Paudras, Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell )
Sonny Rollins on Bud Powell
(The way Sonny, trying to describe Bud’s playing, shakes his head—first at around 1:35, then again at around 3:30—says more than any words could.)