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: INTERVIEW

Dena Derose: Keeper Of The Song

Read "Dena Derose: Keeper Of The Song" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Dena DeRose has established a reputation as one of the finest jazz singers today—though never exclusively that. As others have done—Shirley Horn, a predecessor, or Karrin Allyson, a contemporary, among others—DeRose, in addition to her alluring voice, is a highly accomplished pianist who accompanies herself. Often that's in a trio setting, but she easily extends it ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Pianist Michael Wolff, Drummer Mike Clark and Bassist Leon Lee Dorsey take on the iconic Beatles’ classic, 'Sgt. Pepper'

Pianist Michael Wolff, Drummer Mike Clark and Bassist Leon Lee Dorsey take on the iconic Beatles’ classic, 'Sgt. Pepper'

It was 53 years ago today, May 26, 1967, when the Beatles released the seminal Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It has been hailed a milestone ("a joyful revelation," “the definitive Beatles album"), considered one of their best at the time of its release, and ranked “the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Bob James: Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions

Read "Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Most people have heard the music of Bob James. He wrote “Angela," the theme song for the popular television comedy Taxi. The show ran from 1978 to 1983, and reruns are ongoing. The Bob James became one of the fathers and most successful purveyors of the smooth/fusion jazz sound, in recordings under his own name, with ...

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Ahmad Jamal

Jazz Musician of the Day: Ahmad Jamal

All About Jazz is celebrating Ahmad Jamal's birthday today! 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 ...

Piano Times Seven

Read "Piano Times Seven" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Every jazz pianist plays in their own individual style. These recent albums demonstrate the way seven particular players approach the instrument. Laurent Nicoud Outline QFTF 2020 This is a solo disc by a pianist whose background in classical music shows through the formal drama of his approach ...

ARTICLE: THE JAZZ LIFE

My Early Years With Bill Evans, Part 1

Read "My Early Years With Bill Evans, Part 1" reviewed by Chuck Israels

Bassist and composer, Chuck Israels was raised in a musical family. Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and The Weavers were visitors to his home and the appearance of Louis Armstrong's All Stars in a concert series produced by his parents in 1948 gave Chuck his first opportunity to meet and hear jazz musicians. Chuck studied the cello ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kansas Smitty's: Things Happened Here

Read "Things Happened Here" reviewed by Chris May

Kansas Smitty's is the house band at a London jazz bar of the same name. Band and bar are fronted by the American-Italian alto saxophonist, clarinetist and bass clarinetist Giacomo Smith, who with guitarist David Archer wrote most of the material on this album. The band's style embraces swing era Kansas City through to more recent ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Catalina Jazz Club: Landmark Jazz Haven Forges Onward

Read "Catalina Jazz Club: Landmark Jazz Haven Forges Onward" reviewed by Jim Worsley

While west-coasters long to go to the Blue Note in jny: New York City, east-coasters have their sights set on the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. The family-owned and operated jazz hot spot has seen and heard from all the jazz legends over the past thirty-four years. The supper club has fine dining and even finer ...


ENGAGE

Enter our contest giveaways

Contest Giveaway

Win a chance at some outstanding big band and brass-powered releases by entering the Summit Records contest giveaway! One click entry.

Contest Guidelines

Reader's Poll: It's your festival. Who do you book?

Fantasy Festival Poll

It's your festival, you're in charge of booking and you have an unlimited budget. Share your lineup.

More Polls

Publisher's Desk

More Contests, more winners! Look for two monthly giveaways starting soon. Learn more.

MORE POSTS

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.