Kati Powell, daughter of Mel Powell and Martha Scott, has already graced JAZZ LIVES with generosity of spirit and wit. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I propose that you might click here.
But Kati has other treasures for us. It’s one thing to recount tales of Melvin Epstein, Louis Armstrong, Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, and other luminaries.
Hearing Mel Powell, solo, in his prime, presumably at home, is something — as the Irish might say — “beyond the beyonds.”
Kati very generously allowed me to video-record this astonishingly rare recording and to share it with my readers and viewers.
I suspect that Mel had received or had purchased a home recording unit for the holidays (this recording is dated December 26) and he was relaxing at the piano. I don’t know if the voice we hear is his: I doubt it, but other music scholars have said they think it is him, speaking.
Mel was then a member of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, and thanks to David Weiner and David Jessup, I can tell you that the band was playing at the Hotel New Yorker during that period. The Sextet had a recording date for Columbia on the 24th and there are airchecks from the 27th, but nothing from this date, so I am sure this is a home recording, not a recording of a radio broadcast. It’s glorious, no matter what the details are!
Thanks and blessings to Melvin Epstein and Kathleen Powell!
May your happiness increase!