Powell, Earl was born on September 27, 1924 in New York City. Son of William Powell.
S. William Powell: quit school at age 15. Performed at Coney Island, Canada Lee's Chicken Coop, also with Valaida Snow and Sunset Royals. Frequented Minton's Playhouse in Harlem where Gillespie and Parker were developing be-bop jazz style.
Helped establish bop, as reflected in his 1st records, made with Cootie Williams' band, 1943-1944. Suffered 1st of many nervous breakdowns, 1945. Played with John Kirby, Dizzy Gillespie, Allen Eager, Sid Catlett, Don Byas.
Appeared occasionally on 52d Street, Birdland, and played bop combo sessions at Savoy Record Company, 1940's. Performed at Chat Qui Peche, Paris, 1959. Formed The Three Bosses with Kenny Clarke and Pierre Michelot.
Recorded series of solo albums, establishing status as foremost bop pianist. Best known compositions include: Hallucinations (also called Budo). Oblivion; Glass Enclosure.