Bud Powell, Rare, SIGNED, Original, Glossy, 8" by 10", Black & White, Gale Agency Promotional Photograph, boldly inscribed in blue ink: "To Dr.T, From Bud Powell". The Gale Agency imprint likely dates the photograph to 1953 after Powell's release from a year and half confinement in Creedmore mental asylum, in February of that year. On his release, Powell had been declared "legally incompetent" and Oscar Goodstein, manager of the famous NYC nightclub, Birdland, had somehow got himself appointed guardian of all the pianist's business affairs, at the same time acting as Powell's manager. Although this was a problematic and legally suspect arrangement, Goodstein, with Moe Levy's agency doing the bookings for his engagements, did help provide a year of relative stability and productivity in the great pianist's career. The unusual, and perhaps fittingly ethereal photograph, is very good+, with short closed tears and nicks to the left margin, general minor edge wear and creasing to upper right margin, light surface dings and light soil to lower right; verso is unmarked with a touch of age toning and the autograph is fine without loss or fading. The seeming mark to the right of Bud's head is actually integral to the print.
Bud Powell autographed material is very scarce in any form and this signed photograph is rare - the only signed promotional Powell photo we have offered or indeed, seen. The scarcity of signed Powell material can be partly attributed to his short and troubled life which was deeply compromised by mental and physical illness, alcohol and drug abuse. His extraordinary musical gifts were erratic and eventually diminished by probable schizophrenia, tuberculosis, and the lingering effects of a vicious beating he suffered in 1945, from which he never fully recovered. Yet, Powell is celebrated as one of the greatest of all jazz pianists; as Gary Giddins eloquently states, Powell "influenced virtually every pianist who followed him…no other pianist, and precious few musicians in any age, speak to us with such electrifying urgency…he was our Schubert and Liszt rolled into one". Powell died in New York at the age of 41 in 1966.
From a group of fourteen original jazz photographs, each signed and inscribed to a Newark, New Jersey, physician and jazz fan ("Dr T") who acquired the autographs in person during the 1950's at various clubs in New York and Philadelphia. With a COA from noted music authenticator Roger Epperson, our own letter of authenticity without time limit, and a copy of the detailed letter of provenance acquired with the photographs from the previous owner, a family member who inherited the photographs from the collector's estate. A rare signed jazz photograph with excellent provenance. J2143