236

Ahmad Jamal: It's Magic

By

Sign in to view read count
Ahmad Jamal: It's Magic Ahmad Jamal remains one of the few elder statesmen left in the ever-shrinking pantheon of certified jazz legends. He has not stopped touring and recording since he burst onto the scene in the early '50s, making music that would later inspire the rising Miles Davis, who cited the pianist as one of his greatest influences.

How fortunate we are then to be blessed with numerous opportunities to hear this national treasure. Joining Jamal is his regular rhythm section of James Cammack (bass) and Idris Muhammad (drums), as well as percussionist Manolo Badrena, who has perhaps the largest influence on the album's overall sound. This release doesn't give us the light and fanciful Jamal stylings one might be familiar with from the essential Legendary Okeh and Epic Recordings. Thanks to Badrena, It's Magic possesses aggressive, pulsating Latin and African influences, most easily detected on the Jamal originals "Swahililand," "Back To the Island" and album highlight, "Arabesque."

The listener does get a few breathers, though, and for good reason. Jamal's liner notes explain that the album is a tribute to his late friend and producer Jean-François Deiber, memorialized by a thoughtful medley of "Wild Is the Wind" and "Sing," the latter a tune originally performed on Sesame Street. The title track also offers a time for reflection, but Jamal, as always, steers his slower numbers away from the melancholy and directly towards the cool. If you're a Jamal beginner and curious to check him out, it might be wiser to use the aforementioned '50s Okeh and Epic set as your jumping-off point. After you understand why he's earned his impeccable reputation, then give It's Magic a spin.

Track Listing: Dynamo; Swahililand; Back to the Island; It's Magic; Wild is the Wind/Sing; The Way You Look Tonight; Arabesque; Papillon; Fitnah.

Personnel: Ahmad Jamal: piano; Idris Muhammad: drums; James Cammack: bass; Manolo Badrena: percussion.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Troy Collins
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Greatest Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Live At The Open Gate" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Open Gate
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!