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ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Ballades

Read "Ballades" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

At 89, Ahmad Jamal remains a master of space, time, openness and poetics. Never one to add too much, yet always one to mine a song for all its rich natural flavors, Jamal is an artist whose work speaks with a direct and engaging sweep. His early trio classics became a model of sorts, inspiring Miles Davis and many others, and his latter day, percussion-laced combo dates carry elegance and some swagger in their DNA. Now, showing us that he ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jazz In Marciac 2019

Read "Jazz In Marciac 2019" reviewed by Martin McFie

Jazz In Marciac Marciac, France July 30, 2019 to August 4, 2019 How does a remote village in South West France end up hosting an international jazz festival for 42 years? The logistics come later, but the answers to most questions about Jazz in Marciac lie in the superb quality of the music. The first four days were each blockbuster performances. First Sting—My Songs, then came Gregory Porter's Nat King Cole and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Marseille

Read "Marseille" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Four years between studio albums is a long gap by Ahmad Jamal's standards. Not that the 87-year-old pianist has been idle since the widely acclaimed Saturday Morning (Jazz Village, 2013). He's released two live albums in that time--Live at The Olympia (Jazz Village, 2014) featuring Yusef Lateef and Live in Marciac 2014 (Jazz Village, 2015)--and remains a major draw on the world's most prestigious jazz stages. Though Marseille bears many of Jamal's hallmarks--old songs reworked, standards, a ballad--the pianist still ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Marseille

Read "Marseille" reviewed by Roger Farbey

There are few true jazz legends left alive now let alone still recording albums of the calibre of Marseille. Ahmad Jamal is one such venerable figure and the octogenarian (born July 2, 1930) has recorded an album of consistent brilliance. Jamal prefers to refer to his playing as American classical music rather than jazz and he's been regarded as a “mainstream" pianist but to stylistically stereotype him in this fashion is to do him an injustice. The title ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Piano Trio

Read "Piano Trio" reviewed by AAJ Staff

When one talks about “jazz piano music," it is almost taken for granted they are talking about jazz piano trio music. The trio is and has been most jazz pianists' favorite format, and with good reason: the jazz piano trio has been said at times to represent the essence of jazz in the most condensed yet effective way possible. A piano trio takes full advantage of swing, interaction, and dynamics. There have certainly been outstanding jazz piano trios ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef: Live At The Olympia

Read "Live At The Olympia" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal at Vicar Street, Dublin

Read "Ahmad Jamal at Vicar Street, Dublin" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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 ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Ian Patterson's Best Releases of 2013

Read "Ian Patterson's Best Releases of 2013" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Saturday Morning

Read "Saturday Morning" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Saturday Morning

Read "Saturday Morning" reviewed by Chris May

"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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: San Francisco, CA, June 18, 2013

Read "Ahmad Jamal: San Francisco, CA, June 18, 2013" reviewed by Ken Vermes

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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ahmad Jamal: Blue Moon

Read "Ahmad Jamal: Blue Moon" reviewed by Ian Patterson

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 ...


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