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Jazz - Released February 7, 2012 | Jazz Village

Booklet Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Sélectionné par Ecoutez Voir
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Jazz - Released September 9, 2013 | Jazz Village

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Jazz - Released May 23, 1988 | Chess

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released September 13, 2019 | Jazz Village

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Remarkably, at 89 years young, pianist Ahmad Jamal is still making fine records. Imbued with sage experience and erudite taste, Jamal has an unerring sense of what still moves him and what he still wants to express. Though nowhere near the late career masterpiece of his 2016 release Marseille these mostly solo outtakes—recorded during that album's sessions—are very personal snapshots of the moment rather than any artistic statement. Ballades is Jamal noodling; his still fantastic touch on the keys and elastic blending of melody and rhythm make it worth a listen. The pianist, who first gained fame in 1958 with the release of At the Pershing, opens this set with a spacious solo take of Marseille's title track. A wry, relaxed version of "Poinciana" unfolds from his long connection to this signature tune. He's joined by longtime bassist James Cammack on three tracks, including an effective mashup between Rodgers & Hart's "Spring is Here" and Bill Evans' "Your Story." For those seeking undeniable evidence of Jamal's still vital genius there's the spontaneously composed and recorded "Because I Love You." The shimmering version of the Johnny Mercer/Johnny Mandel song, "Emily" which closes the album is a classic example of the unbridled imagination and formidable instrumental chops that Jamal can bring when playing by, and one suspects, for himself. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 8, 2015 | Jazz Village

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Jazz - Released July 28, 2014 | Jazz Village

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Sélection JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | GRP

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released March 15, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Few of pianist Ahmad Jamal's many recordings are not worth picking up, and this effort for Atlantic boasts some fresh material and fine playing. Jamal (joined by bassist James Cammack, drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Manolo Badrena) performs seven of his little-known originals and the obscure "Yellow Fellow." The close musical communication by the players is, as always, the main reason to acquire this release. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released July 17, 1985 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Ahmad Jamal was never as distinctive on electric piano as he was on the acoustic counterpart, making this two-LP set, Digital Works, (which finds him doubling) a slight disappointment. Jamal does play well throughout, engaging his sidemen (bassist Larry Ball, drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Iraj Lashkaryl) in close interplay, but no new revelations occur on such remakes as "But Not for Me," "Wave" and Jamal's greatest hit, "Poinciana." Good music overall, but not essential. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released July 15, 2013 | Jazz Village

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This collection is evidence that there really are bargains on the compact disc market. Both albums presented here, Ahmad Jamal at the Top: Poinciana Revisited and Freeflight, offer excellent portraits of the great pianist in transition at the end of the '60s and beginning of the '70s. Both feature Jamal's great rhythm section of bassist Jamil Sulieman Nasser and drummer Frank Grant. The first date was recorded in in 1969 at the Top of the Village Gate in New York City. Its reveals Jamal playing in a more driving, percussive style, though he keeps his utterly elegant chord voicings intact. Check the opening reading of Rodgers & Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones," played as a slippery, complex, hard bop tune with some modal and Latin elements added. The version of "Poinciana" here is quicker, deeper in the rhythmic cut. The reading of Tony Hatch's "Call Me," with an Afro-Cuban rhythmic frame and a very fast tempo, reinvents the pop song. "Theme from Valley of the Dolls" begins almost impressionistically before giving way to gorgeous, slowly and precisely played balladry, in which the pianist extends every line until it bleeds into the next. The set ends with a completely re-visioned "How Insensitive," by Antonio Carlos Jobim, that employs elements of montuno and even rumba in its samba frame. Freeflight, recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1971, is just as satisfying, though Jamal plays a Fender Rhodes piano as well as his grand. Commencing with a charging rendition of McCoy Tyner's "Effendi," Jamal allows the Rhodes' slightly distorted tone to add space and texture -- creating space where there is, in fact, very little. Nasser's basslines are a sprint throughout and they lead Jamal to explore the range of the electric keyboard's harmonic possibilities. His reading of Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," played on the grand piano, highlights the more subtle elements in the composer's lyric palette and finds a second, more disguised one at the tune's heart. The dynamics in the arrangement showcase Jamal's ability to extract fully-voiced chords from minimal elements. The 11-and-a-half-minute rendition of "Poinciana" here stands in sharp contrast to the previous one because of its extended, intricate, sweet lyricism that takes its time before giving way to the midtempo Latin rhythmic figure, as his light-fingered ostinati pop against the rhythm section's skittering strut. Together, these two dates make for a fine portrait of Jamal's ability to reinvent his approach to jazz during a particularly turbulent era, without sacrificing his personality. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released August 16, 2005 | Epic - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released October 15, 1987 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
There are some magical moments on this quartet set featuring pianist Ahmad Jamal, bassist James Cammack, drummer David Bowles and percussionist Willie White. Jamal's control of dynamics and inventive use of space proved to be as effective as it had been when he first made his mark in the 1950s, although his chord voicings and general style had evolved. Jamal and his group perform ten of his originals with taste, swing and subtle surprises. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released February 14, 1989 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released November 15, 1986 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This live concert was released on a 1986 double album, Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival 1985. Pianist Ahmad Jamal and his quartet (which also includes bassist James Cammack, drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Selden Newton) dig into three originals, an obscurity, Jack DeJohnette's "Ebony," and a trio of jazz standards (including "Footprints"). This particular group is often reminiscent of Jamal's trios of the '50s, although with more modern bass playing and some denser piano than before. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released November 20, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released October 20, 1989 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
On Pittsburgh, an ambitious tribute to his late mother and his hometown, Ahmad Jamal enlists the help of Chicago-based arranger Richard Evans -- a more familiar presence in soul-jazz's '60s heyday than in 1989, alas -- to decorate five of his compositions and Jimmy Heath's "Mellowdrama," while soloing alone on two others. While Jamal can summon forth all of the bravura resources of his piano technique on pieces like "Foolish Ways" and "Divertimento," he often chooses economy instead, relying on the trademark ostinatos of his rhythm section (James Cammack on bass; David Bowler on drums) for momentum. Evans' orchestrations, always elegant and lean, fit like gloves onto Jamal's compositions, enhancing rather than intruding, often following the contours of the melodic lines. This CD has captured both the character and the shaping hand of Jamal and the distinct sound of Evans, and they are a perfect match in this at-times-exquisite piece of work. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Jazz - Released June 21, 2012 | Fremeaux Heritage

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Jazz - Released June 9, 2017 | Jazz Village

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An octogenarian jazz master who exerted an influence on not just other pianists, but most prominently on Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal has remained a vital presence on the music scene since the 1950s. His nuanced 2017 album, Marseille, finds him drawing upon his years of experience with a set of originals and covers that reveal just how vital and creative he remains. Primarily, the album showcases three distinctly varied interpretations of the title track, a hypnotic, modal ode to a city he loves, and to a greater extent a country that awarded him the prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et de Lettres in 2007. In fact, Marseille was even recorded in France; specifically in the Parisian suburb of Malakoff. Joining Jamal are several longtime associates including bassist James Cammack, former Jazz at Lincoln Center drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Manolo Badrena. Also showcased are French rapper/spoken word performer Abd Al Malik and vocalist Mina Agossi, both of whom show up on two separate versions of "Marseille." The first version of "Marseille" is an instrumental reading marked by Riley's military band snare work, Badrena's atmospheric bells and Jamal's wave-like piano, all of which evoke the city's coastal atmosphere. The second version is an equally evocative take buoyed by Cammack's languid bass motif and featuring a passionate spoken word piece in French from Malik. The final version is moody, cabaret-tinged treatment with Agossi's wry French vocals framed by Jamal's sparkling piano work and Badrena's magical chimes and percussion accents. Elsewhere, Jamal keeps the magic flowing, diving into the Afro-Cuban-infused "Pots en Verre," drawing upon dramatic, roiling, Bob Fosse-esque dance rhythms on "Baalbeck," and directly referencing the bluesy call-and-response melody of Davis' 1982 We Want Miles track "Jean Pierre" on an infectious reworking of the traditional spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." Jamal also seems to borrow more from Davis, conjuring the sound of the trumpeter's 1965 piece "Eighty-One" for his funky interpretation of "Autumn Leaves." However, it's the pianist's original pieces here, like the glittering, dreamlike "I Came to See You/You Were Not There" that seem to flood deeper into your soul with each listen. If the music presented on Marseille is any indication, the city is clearly an intoxicating locale. Ultimately, Jamal has captured that intoxicating vibe and crafted an homage to a city that's as a heartfelt and finely rendered as anything he's done. ~ Matt Collar