'Dance Of The Infidels', by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Feat. Bud Powell

Yesterday I wrote about Shorter’s debut with the Messengers on his first gig abroad, in Paris on November 15th 1959. After that concert, they continued on a swing through Europe, and came full circle with a closing gig back at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on December 18th. For this final performance, promoters planned to feature a number of expatriate musicians in concert with the Messengers, including Bud Powell, who’d set up residence on the Left Bank the previous May.

Michelle Mercer writes: “…Paudras (Powell’s patron and friend in Paris, often mentioned on this blog) invited Bud to the Messengers show that night, unaware that his friend was actually already on the bill. In the middle of the show, Walt Davis, the Messengers’ pianist, stepped up to the mike and asked Bud to come on stage. Bud wasn’t exactly eager to play. He sank down into his chair and tried in vain to use his trademark beret and overcoat for camouflage, but his fans picked him out right away. The audience caught Bud on a good night. With concentration, he shunned inspiration and played straight, giving a crowd pleasing performance…”

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Paris Jam Session

"…After the concert, Shorter went to his hotel room. He had been writing for a couple of hours when he heard a knock on the door at around 3 a.m. There was Bud. He walked into the room, sat in a chair, and looked over at Wayne’s horn, which was out of its case on his bed. "Play me something", he said, in his mild child’s voice. Wayne hesitated. He didn’t know what to play. When he picked up his horn, he reflexively set in on one of the tunes they’d covered earlier that night, ‘Dance Of The Infidels’. After he played, Bud thanked him, stood up, and walked to the door. He turned around and stared. “Are you all right?” Wayne asked. “Uh-huh, it’s all right”, Bud mumbled in response…”.

"…Years later, Wayne listened repeatedly to the show’s live recording, ‘Paris Jam Session’. “Maybe he must have heard something with me that he felt in his inner being?…”

What might Bud Powell have heard in Wayne that night in 1959? 

"…Bud set out boldly on ‘Dance Of The Infidels' with an inventive solo. He walked the tightrope for a few bars then fell back on repetition like a net. When Wayne took the lead solo, Bud must have noticed that Wayne never repeated himself, not a single riff. For Wayne, repetition was stagnation. There was urgency in Shorter's playing that night, an inner logic to his solos, but a mercurial aspect as well. Wayne blew back at Blakey's hi-hat jabs like they were in the boxing ring. The seeds of Wayne's style and his initiation as a composer were there. Maybe Bud heard that, Wayne pushing toward the future with music that could only move forward…”

Lee Morgan - Trumpet
Barney Wilen - Alto Saxophone (guest appearance)
Wayne Shorter - Tenor Saxophone
Bud Powell - Piano (guest appearance)
Jymie Merritt - Bass
Art Blakey - Drums 

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