Bud Powell Complete Blue Note Recordings (1949-58) Mosaic

Track Selection: A Night in Tunisia (Alt Take) Mosaic Limited Edition circa 1985 Re-Mastering Engineer Ron McMaster

Audio comparison: A Night in Tunisia (Alt Master) Blue Note BN1503 The Amazing Budwell, second press Lex/NY mixed labels circa 1962 Remastering by Rudy Van Gelder

Your chance to compare the audio quality of Mosaic against its original Blue Note pressing, the Mosaic remastered by Ron McMaster, the Blue Note remastered by Rudy Van Gelder. It’s 110 gm Mosaic vinyl  vs 180gm Blue Note vinyl contest, two falls, one submission or a knockout. The Blue Note is louder as expected, so up the volume of the Mosaic for a better comparison. If you like, let me know what you think.


For A Night in Tunisia Alt take: Bud Powell (p) Curly Russell (b) Max Roach (d) recorded 1st May 1951 by Doug Hawkins (mono) at WOR Studios


Last of my Mosiacs, Its a Bud Powell evening dine in, with ten sides to play.

There are many great and enjoyable pianists from the bop years: Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, Mal Waldron to name but six. Three giants stand out – Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. Something different happens when these men lay their hands on the keys. Step through a portal into a world beyond mere “playing the piano”, in which man and piano become one. Mutant Jazz.

Cuscuna’s notes describe Powell’s Tunisia : “Bud’s fingers fly, and he keeps us suspended with an almost unbearable, poised pause. …There is a majestic quality about Bud in this form. His confidence and control are complete; his authority, total. Powell commands the keyboard,and elicits every response he seeks.”

Combing through my Charlie Parker Albums I found only the one “Night in Tunisia” track which puts Powell into the context of “if Charlie Parker had played Piano“.he would have played it  like this. I’m so glad I rediscovered it, as hearing it just now  Parker’s solos leave me at a loss for words, which doesn’t happen often, “sweeping the listener through a spiralling vortex of tension and compensating release”  Hear the audience enthusiasm as Parker steps forward and lifts off into space, taking the crowd up with him. You too will believe you can fly.

Charlie Parker, Night in Tunisia (1947)

Artists: Dizzy Gillespie (t) Charlie Parker (as) John Lewis (p) Joe Harris (d) recorded Carnegie hall, NY, Sept 29, 1947

Vinyl: M 116 5-record set

The run out indicates asset ownership is EMI the Evil Music Empire, and remastering by EMI house engineer Ron McMaster.

He’s not Van Gelder.

Collectors Corner

Source: London record store

Box sets don’t fit naturally into the shelves along with ordinary second-hand LP’s so this was not in the usual line of sight, being up in a glass case on the wall. I recall seeing it over a period of many weeks if not months – it’s not on the  Dance-House-Techno-FunkySkoolDisco DJ radar that the shop specialises in.

Listening to and enjoying some Powell jogged my recollection of the Complete Blue Note Recordings box set – and a journey up town secured it, and saved it from further months of neglect. The five discs  have been adopted and found a loving home, though a  only 110 grams each, definitely looking a bit undernourished  compared with their 180 gram Blue Note brothers on the shelf. Now, bath time.

9 thoughts on “Bud Powell Complete Blue Note Recordings (1949-58) Mosaic

    • The original pressing would be Lexington both sides – mine is a later press Lex/NY mixed labels circa 1962-6. It was practice to use up old stock of labels first, however the choice of “one very old, one new” is interesting – I suspect in order to assert the registered trademark symbol on at least one side as it is not present on the Lexington. Or maybe that is too logical.

  1. I love Bud Powell’s work just as much as I dig Monk’s output. Both are splendid. Most of what’s on the box is also on the CD reissues as bonus cuts and thanks for that life sized photo of the inner sleeve with the explanation about the sources they used for this box. Finally a comprehensive bit of text about the earliest recordings that were recorded straight to disc 😉

  2. The original sounds a bit more crisp and attacking. And the piano, bass, drums sound more separated. Also, on the Mosaic track the audio balance shifts at 1:34 to 1:39. This might be due to a audio component on your end and not in the pressing.
    I dig the compare and contrast posts. It’s very interactive.

    • I just listened to 1:34-9 and you are right, the rhythm section drops – to my ear, on both versions. Boy Scout Observation Badge, well spotted.
      The Maplin ion TT usb $70 turntable which makes my mp3 rips is very basic. On my full system the original Blue Note definitely has the edge.

  3. Interesting comparison. Both are fine!
    I would give the edge to the original pressing having more ambience (you hear the studio walls more clear) and more “you are there” feeling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s