Ahmad Jamal's live performances have been well represented in his discography over the past sixty years. Yet despite touring the globe, all Jamal's live recordings--with the exception of the DVD concert from Lebanon, Live at Baalbeck (Birdology, 2003)--document North American and European gigs. France has always accorded the Pittsburgh pianist a royal welcome, naming him an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007;the regard is mutual, as Live at the Olympia is Jamal's fourth live recording in the French capital since 1992. Recorded in June 2012, this double CD set captures the entire concert, with iconic multi-instrumentalist ...read more
Ahmad Jamal Vicar Street Dublin 24 January, 2014 It's been a banner year for fans of jazz piano in Dublin, with solo concerts by Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau bookending 2013. Influential to both these pianists was NEA Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal, so it was fitting in a way that he should give his first performance in Ireland in a dozen years so soon after two of the most important pianists of the past forty years. Jamal was promoting his two most recent, critically acclaimed releases, Blue Moon (Jazz Village, 2012) and Saturday Morning (Jazz ...read more
The following list represents my personal favorites of those CDs I reviewed this year. I am convinced that we live in a great age for jazz/creative music. You can only ever listen to a very small percentage of what's out there, but it's still a privilege to able to access this much terrific music. Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project Mirrors (Edition Records) Yuhan Su Flying Alone (Inner Circle Music) Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran Hagar's Song (ECM Records) Francesco Turrisiread more
Just over a year after Blue Moon (Jazzbook Records, 2012) --Jamal's stellar homage to American cinema and Broadway--the Pittsburgh pianist returns in the same rich vein of form on Saturday Morning. Blue Moon earned a Grammy nomination, and for the second time in recent years Jamal was invited to open the Lincoln Center season in September; clearly, Jamal is enjoying his status as one of jazz's great, elder statesmen. Saturday Morning could almost be part of the same sessions that produced Blue Moon with its mixture of standards, new compositions and reworked older material. Like Blue Moon, this recording occasionally ...read more
"Play like Jamal," Miles Davis told his pianists in the mid 1950s. The trumpeter was not shy about recruiting band leaders or poaching their musicians, so you might suppose he canvassed Jamal. But the pianist maintains Davis never popped the question. Interviewed in 2012, he side-stepped the subject, saying that he was in any case too busy leading his own band to consider offers from Davis or anyone else. I lived a block and a half from Miles when I moved to New York," Jamal continued. But we didn't hang out. We had a quality relationship, not a quantity relationship."read more
Ahmad JamalSymphony HallSan Francisco, CAJune 18, 2013SFJAZZ has accomplished a lot of things as it approaches its first half-year in its new building. Amongst them is revealing dedicated audiences for specific areas of the jazz universe, including piano-led bands. On the face of things, little may appear to connect two masters of this format, Ahmad Jamal, who performed on June 13 at Symphony Hall, and Brad Mehldau, who performed from April 26 to 28 at the new SFJAZZ Center. But both musicians and both groups are more similar than they might seem. In addition, in ...read more
Ahmad Jamal Blue Moon Jazz Village 2012 Ahmad Jamal--senior statesman of jazz piano--first recorded 60 years ago. That he's still producing records of great energy, imagination and flair every couple of years is a remarkable testament to his singular talent. Blue Moon broadly follows the formula of It's Magic (Dreyfus Records, 2008) and A Quiet Time (Dreyfus, 2010); a few Jamal originals, a handful of timeless show tunes and popular numbers from bygone years, plus a nod to the jazz cannon. According to the liner notes the music is reminiscent of Jamal's ...read more
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