Miles once said, "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal." These recordings are the reason why. The mid fifties was a fertile time for jazz; fresh, original ensembles were taking shape all over the country. The Modern Jazz Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Jazz Messengers and the Ahmad Jamal Trio immediately come to mind. Among musicians, each group had its imitators and its creative disciples who took its innovations one step further.
This fascinating date features pianist Ahmad Jamal at the beginning of his recording career. With guitarist Ray Crawford and either Eddie Calhoun or Israel Crosby on bass, Jamal showcases a style that would be a major influence on Miles Davis' music. Jamal's use of space and dynamics was very different than the style of any other jazz pianist of the era. His versions of "Old Devil Moon," "Will You Still Be Mine?," "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," and "A Gal in Calico" inspired Miles to record the songs in a similar fashion, and his "Billy Boy" became the basis of a performance by the Red Garland Trio. Most fascinating is Jamal's inventive interpretation of "Pavanne," for it has a section very reminiscent of "So What" (which was not "composed" by Davis until over two years later) and a melody statement that is exactly the same as John Coltrane's "Impressions."
The music on this CD has been reissued many times, most recently in 1997. By 1970, pianist Ahmad Jamal's style had changed a bit since the 1950s, becoming denser and more adventurous while still retaining his musical identity. With bassist Jamil Nasser (whose doubletiming lines are sometimes furious) and drummer Frank Gant, Jamal performs two originals (playing over a vamp on "Patterns"), the obscure "I Love Music" and four jazz standards. Intriguing performances showing that Ahmad Jamal was continuing to evolve.
Still going strong at the age of 81, legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal's love letter to his favorite Broadway, Hollywood, and Great American Songbook classics, Blue Moon, is arguably one of his most accomplished efforts since his Chess/Impulse! heyday. The Pittsburgh virtuoso, once credited by Miles Davis as a major influence on his career, shows that age is no barrier to invention with six exquisite reworkings of postwar standards.
24bit/192kHz digitally remastered with original LP replica cardboard sleeve. A compelling title – as the record was recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios in New York, one of the hippest places to lay down tracks at the time – but the cover shows an image of the Playboy building in Chicago, famous from the TV show Playboy's Penthouse, Hugh Hefner's first foray into television! The actual music is equally compelling too – as the record is one of Ahmad's first non-trio sessions, and features some great larger arrangements from Joe Kennedy – backing the trio of Jamal, Vernel Fournier, and Israel Crosby with some light strings that create a wonderfully dreamy feel! Ahmad's piano glides along wonderfully in such a setting – set free a bit more than usual, and really sounding great on tracks that include "Ivy", "Comme Ci, Comme Ca", "Tangerine", "Never Never Land", "Ahmad's Blues", and "Seleritus".
The complete, legendary recordings made by Ahmad Jamal with the guitarist Ray Crawford in Trio and Quintet context. ‘Listen to the way Jamal uses space. He lets it go so that you can feel the rhythm section and the rhythm section can feel you. It’s not crowded. Ahmad is one of my favourites. I live until he makes another record.’ Miles Davis, 1958. The complete, legendary recordings made by Ahmad Jamal with the guitarist Ray Crawford in Trio and Quintet context. Jamal’s trios are considered to be amongst the most important in the history of jazz, creating unique articulations of space, openness and light, which still seem so far ahead of their time and which made such a profound impression on Miles Davis and his arranger, Gil Evans.
This collection brings together the early OKeh and Epic recordings of innovative jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, recorded between 1951 and 1955. Jamal ushered in a new era of melodic improvisation that stood in sharp contrast to bebop's previous innovations. These recordings were all done in trio settings, where the pianist was accompanied by guitarist Ray Crawford, and either Eddie Calhoun (1951 and 1952) or Israel Crosby on bass. The shimmering solos and light as a feather chord voicings are anything but lightweight. Sharp, harmonic invention, economical yet intuitive phrasing, and a deft sense of time pushed Jamal's star to ascendancy.