61

Ahmad Jamal: Blue Moon

Blue Moon
Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Ahmad Jamal: Blue Moon In 1958 Pianist Ahmad Jamal burst on the scene with At the Pershing: But Not for Me( Argo Records), which contained the runaway hit "Poinciana." The song's impact was such that it remains Jamal's signature tune to this day. As sometimes comes with popular success, some jazz critics pulled back, but his championing by other musicians, such as trumpeter Miles Davis in 1955—citing the pianist as one of his big influences—subdued their effect. Over the decades, Jamal has made many recordings, and his career has prospered internationally.

Blue Moon displays that the octegenarian is still going strong. In recent years, he has surrounded himself with drums and bass, close at hand for spirited give-and-takes. Here, however, he has his now-regular retinue which includes two percussionists.

The playlist is a mix of six standards and three originals. A signature demonstrated with "Poinciana" is a repetitive, Bolero-like rhythm, increasing in intensity throughout the number, with Jamal and others playing against it. This pattern is still apparent, with variations, but the approach is mostly impressionistic, creating often surprising results.

On the Rodgers and Hart acorn, "Blue Moon," drummer Herlin Riley establish the familiar rhythmic pattern with Jamal's piano playing, an intriguing cat-and-mouse game with the theme. With "Gypsy," Billy Reed's forties hit, Jamal lets his imagination run free, throwing out Art Tatum-like flourishes, alternately twisting, then unwinding the tune.

David Rose's classic theme to the classic 1944 film Laura is a lovely chance for Jamal to show his taste and skill with ballads. On Jamal's original, "I Remember Italy," on the other hand, Reginald Veal's throbbing bass stands out, but everyone stretches, taking advantage of its 13-plus minute duration.

Closing out, the quartet takes an abstract look at Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody'n You." Like everything on this CD, uniqueness is the keyword on this rendition. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Master Jamal reigns with Blue Moon.

Track Listing: Autumn Rain; Blue Moon; Gypsy; Invitation; I Remember Italy; Laura; Morning Mist; This Is the Life; Woody'n You.

Personnel: Ahmad Jamal: piano; Reginald Veal: double bass; Herlin Riley: drums; Manolo Badrena: percussion.

Title: Blue Moon | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Jazzbook Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Luz de Luna" CD/LP/Track Review Luz de Luna
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1" CD/LP/Track Review Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.