Fats and Bud: A Stormy Relationship
Contributed by Leif Bo Petersen

Raymond Orr:

"At jam sessions, playing the wrong chord might cause a fight. I was in Minton's, in New York, one night and Fats Navarro was slapped by Bud Powell because Fats played some wrong changes (piano chords). Bud was drunk. Bud Powell played tricks on Max Roach too. One time in a trio setting, piano, bass and drums, Bud played a tremendous introduction to the ballad Round About Midnight and the piano and bass walked off the band stand with Bud saying to Max, 'You got it?'"

New York and the Music Revolution: Raymond Orr, trumpet. Interviewed by Charles Walton. (Bronzeville Conversations. University of Chicago. See http://www.jazzinstituteofchicago.org).

Dizzy Gillespie:

"He was sweet. He was like a baby. Bud Powell used to bug him when they played at the Three Deuces" (I. Gitler: Jazz Masters of the Forties, 1966, p.101).

Walter Bishop, Jr.:

"Well, they were two of my favourite players. They had an instant dislike for each other. You could see it in their eyes, the way they looked at each other. I was at a session in Harlem at Barron's Club, an all star affair featuring Bud and Fats. When Fats was soloing at the mike, on a ballad I believe, Bud who had a glass of beer poured it on Fats' head." (P. Pullman (ed.). The Complete Bud Powell on Verve, p.4).

Leonard Feather:

"I remember one night, during a jam session I was running at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street for which I had booked both Fats and Bud Powell, the tension between the two was aggravated as Bud chided Fats between sets. At the beginning of the next set Fats reached the bursting point. While the audience looked on in silent, terrified tension, he lifted his horn and tried to bring the full weight of it crashing down on Bud's hands. He missed, thank God, but the strength in the blow was enough to buckle the horn against the piano; Fats had to borrow a trumpet to play the set. The incident, however, failed to affect the close friendship and mutual admiration between Bud and Fats." (Leonard Feather: Liner Notes. The Fabulous Fats Navarro, Blue Note 1531.)

Walter Bishop, Jr:

"Another time on 52nd street, while Bud was soloing Fats took his horn and crowned him. Bud had just turned away and got a glancing blow; the trumpet was all bent. It was like looking at a car wreck: Seeing the trumpet, I couldn't believe that somebody could walk away from that in one piece. The horn was demolished. He and Bird were the same way, always playing 'Can you top this?' Bud had this thing about horn players." (P. Pullman (ed.). The Complete Bud Powell on Verve, p.4).

Is this the same episode as the Feather-incident? I think the incident took place at The Clique early in 1949, where the two played together in Oscar Pettiford All Stars or at the Three Deuces in 1947, where both often was sitting in with Charlie Parker Quintet. Powell was hospitalised at Creedmore from November 1947 to November 1948.