407

The Ahmad Jamal Trio: Pavanne For Ahmad

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
The Ahmad Jamal Trio: Pavanne For Ahmad Always the musician's musician, Ahmad Jamal's unique approach to the piano has been a continuing source of inspiration for six decades, influencing such giants as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, and a younger generation of keyboardist like Scott Kinsey.

Pavanne for Ahmad is a collection of eighteen of Jamal's earliest recordings for the Okeh and Argo labels between 1951 and 1955. Quite apart from the inherent beauty of Jamal's playing on these tunes, it is interesting to note how remarkably well formed his musical ideas were at such a young age.

"Ahmad's Blues, penned in 1948, is one of only three Jamal originals here. Although the definitive version wouldn't arrive until 1958 with the classic trio of bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernell Fournier, this version from 1952 contains all the Jamal trademarks—the light touch which nevertheless engenders a buoyant swing, a preference for the mid to high end of the keyboard, a slight blues vein, sudden injections of bold chords and the tremendous use of space. It is easy to see why Miles Davis loved Jamal's music so.

Jamal's philosophy here is "Why use ten notes when three will do? and his understatement really allows the songs to breathe. This characteristic use of space makes his sometimes thundering left hand and dazzling cascading runs all the more striking. This contrast between sparse and dense, light and punchy—is heard to great effect on another Jamal original, "New Rumba.

Accompanied by either Eddie Calhoun or Israel Crosby on bass and Ray Crawford on guitar, the drummer-less trio brings a vitality to standards such as "It Ain't Necessarily So, "I Get a Kick Out of You, and "Love for Sale. These songs sound as fresh and inventive today as they did half a century ago. Crawford's playing throughout is outstanding, bringing to mind Barney Kessel at times, and Grant Green at others. It is no surprise after playing half a dozen years with Jamal that Crawford's style should be so refined and tasteful, and his solos a mixture of flourish and space. A retrospective of this highly talented but little-known guitarist's recordings would also be welcome and timely.

There are many gems in this collection and there's confirmation aplenty, not only of Jamal's status as a true original and one of jazz's greats, but of the fact that his drummer-less trio was one of the best jazz groups of the first half of the 1950s.


Track Listing: The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; Ahmad's Blues; A Gal in Calico; Ari and Ukthay (Brother and Sister); New Rumba; A Foggy Day; It Ain't Necessarily So; I Get a Kick out of You; Darn that Dream; Love for Sale; Poinciana (The Song of the Tree); Pavanne; Black Beauty; Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Old Devil Moon; Perfida; Rica Pulpa; Something to Remember You By.

Personnel: Ahmad Jamal: piano; Ray Crawford: guitar; Eddie Calhoun: bass (1-4); Israel Crosby: bass (5-18).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: FiveFour


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Cave Art" CD/LP/Track Review Cave Art
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Petal" CD/LP/Track Review Petal
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "One More Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review One More Manhattan
by Jim Olin
Published: May 28, 2016

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!

Buy it!