All About Jazz

Home » Search Center » Results: Ahmad Jamal

Results for "Ahmad Jamal"

Advanced search options

MUSICIAN Born:

Ahmad Jamal

In 1951, Mr. Jamal first recorded 'Ahmad's Blues' on Okeh Records. His arrangement of the folk tune 'Billy Boy', and 'Poinciana' (not his original composition), also stem from this period. In 1955, he recorded his first Argo (Chess) Records album that included 'New Rhumba', 'Excerpts From The Blues', 'Medley' (actually 'I Don't Want To Be Kissed'), and 'It Ain't Necessarily So' —all later utilized by Miles Davis and Gil Evans on the albums "Miles Ahead" and "Porgy and Bess." In his autobiography, Mr. Davis praises Mr. Jamal's special artistic qualities and cites his influence. In fact, the mid-to-late 1950's Miles Davis Quintet recordings notably feature material previously recorded by Mr. Jamal: 'Squeeze Me', 'It Could Happen To You', 'But Not For Me', 'Surrey With The Fringe On Top', 'Ahmad's Blues', 'On Green Dolphin Street' and 'Billy Boy'. In 1956, Mr. Jamal, who had already been joined by bassist Israel Crosby in 1955, replaced guitarist Ray Crawford with a drummer. Working as the "house trio" at Chicago's Pershing Hotel drummer Vernell Fournier joined this trio in 1958 and Mr. Jamal made a live album for Argo Records entitled "But Not For Me". The resulting hit single and album, that also included 'Poinciana' — his rendition could be considered his "signature". This album remained on the Ten Best-selling charts for 108 weeks — unprecedented then for a jazz album. This financial success enabled Mr. Jamal to realize a dream, and he opened a restaurant/club, The Alhambra, in Chicago. Here the Trio was able to perform while limiting their touring schedule and Mr. Jamal was able to do record production and community work. Mr. Jamal was born on July 2, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A child prodigy who began to play the piano at the age of 3, he began formal studies at age 7. While in high school, he completed the equivalent of college master classes under the noted African-American concert singer and teacher Mary Caldwell Dawson and pianist James Miller. He joined the musicians union at the age of 14, and he began touring upon graduation from Westinghouse High School at the age of 17, drawing critical acclaim for his solos. In 1950, he formed his first trio, The Three Strings. Performing at New York's The Embers club, Record Producer John Hammond "discovered" The Three Strings and signed them to Okeh Records (a division of Columbia, now Sony Records). Mr. Jamal has continued to record his outstanding original arrangements of such standards as 'I Love You', 'A Time For Love', 'On Green Dolphin Street' (well before Miles Davis!), 'End of a Love Affair', to cite a few. Mr. Jamal's own classic compositions begin with 'Ahmad's Blues' (first recorded on October 25, 1951!), 'New Rhumba', 'Manhattan Reflections', 'Tranquility', 'Extensions', 'The Awakening', 'Night Mist Blues' and most recently 'If I Find You Again', among many others.. In 1994, Mr. Jamal received the American Jazz Masters award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The same year he was named a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University, where he performed commissioned works with the Assai String Quartet. A CD is available of these works. In 1970, Mr. Jamal performed the title tune by Johnny Mandel for the soundtrack of the film "Mash!"; and in 1995, two tracks from his hit album "But Not For Me" — 'Music, Music, Music', and 'Poinciana' — were featured in the Clint Eastwood film "The Bridges of Madison County". Mr. Jamal's CD entitled "The Essence" features tenor saxophonist George Coleman — Mr. Jamal's first recording made with a horn! Critical acclaim and outstanding sales resulted in two prestigious awards: D'jango D'or (critics) and Cloch (for sales) in France. Its success generated a concert at Salle Pleyel, and a CD has been released "Ahmad Jamal a Paris" (1992) and a second "live" concert by Mr. Jamal in l996 under the same title, unissued except in France and available on the Dreyfus Records on the Internet, Mr. Jamal rightly considers one of his best recordings. Ahmad Jamal's 70th Birthday "live" concert recording Olympia 2000, is known as "The Essence Part III". "The Essence, Part II", featured Donald Byrd on the title track, and on his CD entitled "Nature", Stanley Turrentine is featured on 'The Devil's In My Den', and steel drummer Othello Molineaux augments the trio format. Continuing his recording career, Mr. Jamal released "In Search of" on CD, and his first DVD "Live In Baalbeck". For students of the piano, Hal Leonard Publications has published "The Ahmad Jamal Collection", a collection of piano transcriptions. Mr. Jamal continues to record exclusively for the French Birdology label, and his albums are released on Verve and Atlantic in the United States. Mr. Jamal is an exclusive Steinway piano artist.

Mr. Jamal's 'About My Life' story in his own words:

At three years of age, my wonderful Uncle Lawrence stopped me while I was walking past the piano in my parents' living room. He was playing the piano and challenged me to duplicate what he was doing. Although I had never touched this or any piano, I sat down and played note for note what I had heard. "The rest is history." What a thrilling ride it has been and continues to be. I was born in one of the most remarkable places in the world for musicians and people in the arts - Pittsburgh, PA. At seven years, I was selling newspapers to Billy Strayhorn's family. Billy had already left home; I didn't get to meet him until years later. Following is a partial listing of "Pittsburghers:"

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Luke Gillespie: Moving Mists

Read "Moving Mists" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Insegnante di piano jazz all'Indiana University e leader di un trio, Luke Gillespie ha mostrato in altri dischi di saper rileggere con inventiva il songbook jazzistico, aggiungendo personali doti d'autore. Vive e opera lontano da New York in una dimensione apparata ma il suo pianismo non è inferiore a quello di artisti più noti. Nel suo ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

A World of Piano Trios II

Read "A World of Piano Trios II" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Several parts of the world heard from in this installment: Sweden, Norway, France, and the United States. Esbjorn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.) e.s.t. live in Gothenburg ACT Music 2019 Before Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson's untimely death in 2008, e.s.t. was a sensation. They brought an eclecticism and rock-like ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II

Read "Tales of The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed - Jazz Societies, Part II" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz Societies, Part 1 briefly traced the preservation and interpretation of jazz from the oral history of its West African roots through academic and cultural institutions. The article included an overview of jazz societies and foundations that further the fostering of jazz education. The organizations vary in scope, size ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2019: The Year in Jazz

Read "2019: The Year in Jazz" reviewed by Ken Franckling

The year 2019 was robust in many ways. International Jazz Day brought its biggest stage to Australia. An important but long-shuttered jazz mecca was revived in a coast-to-coast move. ECM Records celebrated a golden year. The music and its makers figured prominently on the big screen. The National Endowment for the Arts welcomed four new NEA ...

Ballades

Label: Jazzbook Records
Released: 2019
Track listing: Marseille; Because I Love You; I Should Care; Poinciana; Land Of Dreams; What's New; So Rare; Whisperings; Spring Is Here/Your Story; Emily.

Trio & Quintet Recordings With Ray Crawford

Label: Cherry Red Records
Released: 2019
Track listing: CD1: New Rhumba; A Foggy Day; All Of You; It Ain’t Necessarily So; I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed; I Get A Kick Out Of You; Jeff; Darn That Dream; Spring Is Here; Perfidia; Love For Sale; Rica Pulpa; Autumn Leaves; Squeeze Me; Black Beauty; The Donkey Serenade; Don’t Blame Me; They Can’t Take That Away From Me; New Rhumba.CD2: Old Devil Moon; Ahmad’s Blues; Poinciana; Billy Boy; Will You Still Be Mine; Pavanne; Crazy He Calls Me; The Surrey With The Fringe On Top; Aki And Ukthay; Slaughter On Tenth Avenue; A Gal In Calico; It’s Easy To Remember; Ahmad’s Waltz; Valentina; Yesterdays; Tempo For Two; Halleljah; It’s A Wonderful World; Baia; You Came A Long Way From St Louis; Lover Man; Who Cares; Joy Spring.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marlon Martinez: Yours Truly

Read "Yours Truly" reviewed by Paul Naser

"Lock up your drummers, this bass monster will inflame them all!" This high praise for Los Angeles-based bassist-composer Marlon Martinez comes care of none other than legendary drummer Stewart Copeland who is featured on the young virtuoso's debut album, Yours Truly (Self Produced, 2019). A graduate of the prestigious Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Ballades

Read "Ballades" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

None other than Miles Davis cited Ahmad Jamal (born 1930) as a stylistic influence. So, as he was approaching his ninetieth birthday, what did this vibrant upstart do to further shake things up? He released his first ever solo album which isn't really a solo album because on three of the exemplarily graceful tracks on Ballades, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Nicholas Payton: Relaxin' with Nick

Read "Relaxin' with Nick" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

This percolating trio date of brothers from different riff mothers—bassist Peter Washington, drummer Kenny Washington and Nicholas Payton—is a bit misleading. In this setting Payton is a quartet unto himself, sailing with his trumpet while playing elegant piano/Fender Rhodes, electronics, and the occasional rap/vocal that we needn't discuss pro or con. Given all that, Relaxin' with ...


ENGAGE!

Enter our contest giveaways

Contest Giveaways

Enter our contests with a single button click and win a chance at albums or concert tickets.

Contest Guidelines

Reader's Poll: Which cities worldwide are tops in presenting jazz? Let us know.

Top Jazz Cities Poll

Which cities worldwide are tops in presenting jazz? Let us know—select up to ten.

More Polls

Track of the Day!

Publisher's Desk

Stay current on website improvements, new features, handy tips, and more.

MORE POSTS

Shop for Music

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