Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

116

Ahmad Jamal: Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Ahmad Jamal Trio

The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Performances

Solar Records

2011

"Play like Jamal," trumpeter Miles Davis is reputed to have told his pianist Red Garland in the mid 1950s. We can but speculate how Garland reacted to this request, assuming the story is true. It has the ring of truth: Davis was not best known for mincing his words, and he championed Ahmad Jamal at a time when many jazz critics were dismissing him as a lightweight cocktail bar pianist. "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal," Davis is reliably recorded as saying.

Record producer John Hammond was another early Jamal enthusiast, signing him to the Columbia Records subsidiary Okeh in 1951, when Jamal was 21. Jamal recorded some enduring early classics for the label between 1951-55, collected on the 2CD set The Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings (Columbia Legacy, 2005).

It was not until 1958, however, and the runaway success of the live album But Not For Me: At The Pershing (Argo/Chess), that Jamal really arrived on the US jazz scene. He has been one of its jewels ever since, and his greatness was quasi-officially acknowledged in 1994, when he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts. In early February 2012, at age 82, after six decades of outstanding recordings, Jamal will release another remarkable and entrancing disc, Blue Moon (Jazz Village).

This three-CD collection on the obscure European label Solar Records homes in on Jamal's breakthrough year. Disc one consists of But Not For Me: At The Pershing and At The Pershing Volume Two (Argo/Chess, 1960), both recorded at Chicago's Pershing Lounge on January 16 and 17, 1958; disc two and the first half of disc three include all surviving 25 tracks recorded at Washington's Spotlite Club on September 5 and 6, 1958, and since variously and/or partially released under variants of the title Ahmad Jamal At The Spotlite (Argo); the second half of disc three rewinds a couple of years to 1956's Count 'Em 88 (Argo). On all but the 1956 album, where the drummer is Walter Perkins, Jamal leads a trio featuring bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernell Fournier.

As a bonus track, disc one includes a 1955 recording, made with Crosby and guitarist Ray Crawford, of "Poinciana" (not a Jamal original, but following its interpretation on But Not For Me: At The Pershing, forever associated with him).

With the exception of the 4:33 minute bonus track, and a 45rpm edit of the Pershing's "Poinciana," all of this material is included on Mosaic Records' nine-CD collection The Complete Ahmad Jamal Trio Argo Sessions 1956-62 (2010). The Solar set offers roughly one-third of the Mosaic material for roughly one-fifth of its price, but with Mosaic you get an authoritative liner booklet put together by drummer Kenny Washington and Mosaic's Michael Cuscuna. The Solar booklet is more modest, though it does include a few pages extracted from R.J. DeLuke's excellent 2004 All About Jazz interview with Jamal.

How deep is the ocean? How deep are your pockets? However you get to hear them, these 1956 and 1958 recordings are among the most uplifting ever made.

Tracks: CD1: But Not For Me; The Surrey With The Fringe on Top; Moonlight In Vermont; Music! Music! Music! (Put Another Nickel In); There Is No Greater Love; Poinciana; Woody'n You; What's New?; Too Late Now; All The Things You Are; Cherokee; It Might As Well Be Spring; I'll Remember April; My Funny Valentine; Gone With The Wind; Billy Boy; It's You Or No One; They Can't Take That Away From Me; Poor Butterfly; Poinciana (single version); Poinciana (1955 studio version). CD2: Ahmad's Blues; It Could Happen To You; I Wish I Knew; Autumn Leaves; Stompin' At The Savoy; Cheek To Cheek; The Girl Next Door; Secret Love; Squatty Roo; Taboo; Autumn In New York; Gal In Calico; That's All; Should I?; Seleritus; Let's Fall In Love. CD3: This Can't Be Love; Ole Devil Moon; Ivy; Tater Pie; Aki And Ukthay (Brother And Sister); You Don't Know What Love Is; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; So Beats My Heart For You; Our Delight; Soft Winds (studio version); Secret Love (studio version); Taking A Chance On Love (studio version); Volga Boatman; On Green Dolphin Street; How About You?; I Just Can't See For Lookin'; Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year; Beat Out One; Maryam; Easy To Remember; Jim Loves Sue.

Personnel: Ahmad Jamal: piano; Israel Crosby: bass; Vernell Fournier: drums (CD1#1-20, CD2, CD3#1-12); Walter Perkins: drums (CD3#13-21); Ray Crawford: guitar (CD1#21).

Title: Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Unknown label

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Aug4Sun
Ahmad Jamal, Shahin Novrasli
Chapiteau
Marciac, France
Oct18Fri
Ahmad Jamal
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville, TN
$35 - 135

Related Articles

Read Greatest Other People's Hits Extended Analysis
Greatest Other People's Hits
By Doug Collette
September 9, 2018
Read Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967 Extended Analysis
Heavy Music - The Complete Cameo Recordings 1966-1967
By Doug Collette
September 8, 2018
Read Naima/Live in Berlin Extended Analysis
Naima/Live in Berlin
By Duncan Heining
August 30, 2018
Read Kaya 40 Extended Analysis
Kaya 40
By Nenad Georgievski
August 25, 2018
Read Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
By Doug Collette
August 4, 2018
Read Wodgi Extended Analysis
Wodgi
By Duncan Heining
August 4, 2018
Read In Memory of Lou Gare Extended Analysis
In Memory of Lou Gare
By Duncan Heining
August 3, 2018