Re: Mel Powell

92BPM (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 12:59:01 -0700

I too spent part of a semester studying with Mel, and the thing that I
could never figure out, was why he abandoned (at least seemingly..)his
connection to the big band and jazz life of the 40' my perceptions,
he seemed to pooh pooh it as not serious, and Jazz for all intents and
purposes ended for him around 1949...

Mel was considered a great and open minded teacher in the 60's and still in
the 70's, by time I got to him in the mid-80's I think he was a bit rigid.
Unfortunately, I missed all the great Baseball stories, as Mel, I believe
had played in the minors and knew several famous guys either as family
friends/relatives or as a young player...Bill Dickey stands out for some

I know it was hard for him, a man who had been an athlete and active, to
get a debilitating illness, but it seems he managed to live into his 70's
and stay productive for a long time...

Mel was known for his small chamber, and exquisite vocal pieces. There are
several recordings and published scores available.

He very much enjoyed Randy's wit, and the piece "8", that the Livingroom
Website commemorates with all the bouncing 8 balls, was a classic Randy/Mel
exchange, where Mel asked for a strict Sonata Form, and Randy
a way Mel never expected. They charmed each other, and I can still hear
Mel;s thunderous laugh in the Main Gallery at Cal Arts at the initial
performance of "8"....

Rick Appelbaum 4.30.98