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Identifier: IJS-0247

Francis Paudras collection on Bud Powell



  • circa 1958-1989

Scope and Contents

The Francis Paudras collection on Bud Powell dates from circa 1958 to 1989 and contains audiovisual and scrapbook materials related to the jazz musician Bud Powell. The collection was compiled by Francis Paudras and includes two 8mm film reels, one audiotape reel (1/4 inch), and one hundred and twenty 16mm film reels. Some films are without sound. The collection also comprises five scrapbooks organized by date. Access to the scrapbooks in the collection is restricted, as they mostly contain Powell’s health records and legal documentation.

The collection documents Paudras’s friendship with Powell. It contains home movie footage of Powell at the apartment, on vacation, with friends, and at the sanitarium, as well as silent footage of Powell’s 1963 benefit concert at the Salle Wagram in France. Of note in the collection is footage of Powell meeting Thelonious Monk at the airport in Paris, Powell’s 1966 funeral procession in New York, and Paudras visiting Powell’s gravesite with Powell’s family members. The collection contains a unique version of Shaw Nuff with brushes (reel 124F) and a few brief musical performances by Powell that were likely recorded at Paudras’s apartment (reel 110Fa_h).

The interviews in the collection are a rich resource for those studying Powell’s life and musical influences. The interviews were conducted and filmed by Paudras and feature musicians who performed with or were inspired by Powell including Kenny Clarke, Leonard Gaskin, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Gourley, Jenny Gregory, Bertha Hope, Al Levitt, Pierre Michelot, Max Roach, Don Schlitten, and Rene Urtreger. While the collection contains interviews with several notable jazz figures, it does not include any interviews with Powell himself.


10 Linear Feet

1 audiotape reel : 1/4 inch magnetic tape

2 film reels (8 mm) : Super 8

120 film reels (16 mm)

Language of Materials

This collection contains materials in French and English.

Conditions Governing Access

The audiovisual materials in the collection have been digitally reformatted for research purposes. Researchers may access digitized copies of the audiovisual materials via the IJS research portal or by appointment at the Institute of Jazz Studies. Access to the scrapbooks is restricted. Please contact the Institute for further information.


Francis Paudras (1935-1997) was an artist, amateur pianist, and jazz enthusiast who developed a close friendship with jazz bebop pianist, Bud Powell (1924-1966). In the early 1960s, Paudras invited Powell to live with him in his Paris apartment, where he became Powell’s caretaker and unofficial manager. The Francis Paudras collection on Bud Powell documents Paudras’s friendship with Powell and includes home movies, interviews about Powell, scrapbooks, footage of Powell’s 1966 funeral procession, and copies of televised musical performances by Powell at European venues and festivals.

Biographical / Historical

Francis Paudras (1935-1997) was an artist, amateur pianist, and jazz enthusiast who developed a close friendship with jazz bebop pianist, Bud Powell. In the early 1960s, Paudras offered Powell a place to stay in his Paris apartment while Powell was recovering from a severe case of tuberculosis. In addition to the role of caretaker, Paudras became Powell's unofficial manager. Paudras documented his friendship with his musical idol and filmed him with a home movie camera in a variety of informal settings, including on vacation in Normandy, at the sanitarium, socializing with friends, backstage at musical venues, and at Paudras's apartment. After Powell’s death, Paudras conducted and filmed interviews with musicians who performed with or were inspired by Powell, including Kenny Clarke, Leonard Gaskin, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Gourley, Jenny Gregory, Bertha Hope, Al Levitt, Pierre Michelot, Max Roach, Don Schlitten, and Rene Urtreger.

Paudras is the author of two books: To Bird with Love (1981) and La Danse des Infidèles (1986). His friendship with Powell was fictionalized in the 1986 film "Round Midnight,” written and directed by Bertrand Tavernier and starring Dexter Gordon. Paudras committed suicide in 1997 at his home in France.

Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell (1924-1966) was a prominent American composer, pianist, and a seminal figure in the progression of modern jazz, also known as bebop. He was widely recognized for his exceptional proficiency in playing at rapid tempos. Amongst his notable original compositions are "Un Poco Loco", "Dance of the Infidels", "Celia", "Tempus Fugue-it", and "Bouncing with Bud". He recorded with several labels including Blue Note, Mercury, Norgran, Clef, and Roost. Powell's greatest musical influences include jazz pianists Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk.

In the mid-1940s, after a gig in Philadelphia, Powell was apprehended by the transit police at Broad Street Station. During his brief incarceration he received beatings and suffered a head trauma. After his release, he complained of headaches, was hospitalized, and received psychiatric treatment. Powell’s serious physical and mental health struggles persisted throughout his life. He developed chemical addiction issues and spent long periods of time in hospitals and psychiatric facilities.

By the early 1960s, Powell had moved to Paris. While in Europe, he performed at the Antibes Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival and at European venues such as Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen and The Blue Note and Club Saint-Germain in Paris. In 1963 he contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized. He returned to the United States the following year to perform at Birdland. Powell passed away in 1966 at the age of 41 in New York City.


The collection is arranged in five series, as follows.

Series 1: Oral interviews

Series 2: Home movies and funeral procession footage

Series 3: Musical performances

Series 4: Jazz films and documentaries

Series 5: Scrapbooks

The Francis Paudras Collection on Bud Powell
The finding aid was prepared by Diane Biunno (project lead), Vincent Pelote, Lewis Porter, Peter Pullman, and Kristiana Weseloh. French language transcripts and corresponding English translations of the oral interviews were created by Julia Durand. The audiovisual materials in the collection were rehoused by Erica Gold.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
The description of the collection and the digitization of the audiovisual materials was supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Mellon Foundation

Part of the Institute of Jazz Studies Repository

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