Mel Powell is one of the most brilliant pianists (and later, composers) that most people haven’t heard of, which is a pity. I never met him, but I knew his music very early in my jazz-listening years through his work with Goodman and Glenn Miller, then his recordings for the Vanguard label in the Fifties. In this century, I had the immense good fortune to meet his daughter Kati, who now has her home in a Southern town where we hope happiness will find her every day. Here is a 2017 post that combines music and history.
But this post, like some others, is motivated by objects that I delight in sharing. One crossed my monitor just this afternoon — yes, eBay again — and an autographed photograph of Mel serving his country overseas:
The link is here, should you wish to get in on the fun. My team of financial advisers held a conference and said, “No,” so the field is clear to bidders.
Kati very generously allowed me to borrow a number of Mel’s home-recorded discs, which I transferred in the least sophisticated way possible, knowing how delicate they are, how they would not stand up well to washing and repeated playings. Some are difficult to listen to, but all are marvelous. I’ve chosen two for this posting, because, after all, a photograph without a soundtrack is just a silent picture.
Incidentally, please don’t write to lecture me about the care of fragile discs. I’m doing the best I can: Ristic is gone, and the Audiofixer is understandably overwhelmed.
Here is Mel’s meditation on I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, which starts in mid-performance because the outer portion of the disc was damaged:
And something I am calling A FLOURISH — Mel practicing the end of a song, although I have not yet figured out what the song is.
There might be more rare Mel Powell music in future. But savor this now.
May your happiness increase!