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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 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 Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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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 August 16, 2005 | Epic - Legacy

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 January 1, 2011 | Verve Reissues

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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 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 February 14, 1989 | Columbia

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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 November 20, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released July 15, 2013 | Jazz Village

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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 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
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Pop - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Well into his golden years, Ahmad Jamal continues to tour and record with the vigor of a man half his age. What is also evident is that his artistic sense is as high as it has ever been, as he consistently doles out fresh new melodies charged by his extraordinary talent, which is hardly reined in. A Quiet Time might be a bit deceiving in that there's plenty of Jamal's energy to go around on this set of originals and two standards, sans ballads except for the finale "I Hear a Rhapsody." With longtime partners in bassist James Cammack and drummer Kenny Washington, Jamal breeds the utmost confidence that his music succeeds on the upper end of modern mainstream jazz. Percussionist Manolo Badrena (ex-Weather Report) spices up the music without overt Latin overtures, and balances the swing inherent in Jamal's style. When you hear Jamal's fast and loose but controlled "Paris After Dark" in swinging or heavy modal context, you know your are listening to an undisputed master craftsman at work. The bouncy track "Flight to Russia" has Cammack's bass locked in tight with the others, while Jamal's bright dancing lines across the keyboard during "Tranquility," and his heavy-to-lighter traipsing of notes for the title track indicate that this pianist has plenty in the tank in terms of sheer artistry. While he does a rather polite version of Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly," the contemporary beat of "The Blooming Flower" suggests it is an updated version of his all-time favorite "Poinciana." More of his originals include the cascading freedom exuded in "Poetry" as notes tumble from waterfalls, while the lilting to free to tick-tock pace of "After JALC" proves Jamal can shift gears at will effortlessly. There's nothing even remotely mediocre or rote about this effort, as Ahmad Jamal proves once again his viability to play jazz piano music is still on the rise, and inspired beyond most mortals. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Jazz - Released August 10, 2010 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Ahmad Jamal's minimalist style has served him well throughout his career, as he enjoys making frequent sudden detours in the midst of a performance, with his intuitive rhythm section able to adapt on the fly. His longtime bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad are joined by Latin percussionist Manolo Badrena for these 2007 sessions. The half-dozen originals include the curious "Back to the Island," which blends a calypso air (while interpolating "Ol' Man River" and "Hot House" in his solo) with Latin flavor and even a bit of an Irish jig in spots, along with the dark, exotic "Arabesque," which sounds as if it might have been adapted from an impressionist composer in classical music. Jamal also works wonders with standards, including a lush, dramatic solo rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight" and a leisurely "It's Magic" that adds a few of his trademark flourishes. Even though Ahmad Jamal can sometimes rely a bit too heavily on song quotes (his insertion of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" into "Dynamo" comes off a bit ham-handed), jazz piano fans will enjoy this release. ~ Ken Dryden
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1968 | ABC Records Ltd

This hard-to-find recording is of value if only to hear Jamal's interpretation of two Burt Bacharach-Hal David gems from the '60s, "I Say a Little Prayer" and "The Look of Love." Since the early '50s, Jamal has managed to generate commercial appeal within the piano trio format by crafting memorable arrangements without resorting to clichés. (Jamal's trio concept paved the way for the success of Ramsey Lewis, the Three Sounds, and others.) He treats the entire trio -- not just the piano -- as his instrument and has mastered the use of space and dynamic variation in shaping his distinctive group sound. Jamal has a keen sense of formal structure; his concise renderings of standards and pop tunes always offer a fresh take on the familiar by deconstructing and reconstructing melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic themes. This collection is no exception. Check out the bass ostinato which frames Mercer & Mandel's "Emily," or the superimposed rhythms of "Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You." Jamal, himself a major innovator in modern jazz (his significant influence on Miles Davis has been widely noted) is able to continually find inspiration in the developments of other jazz artists. Listen to the modal vamps on his original compositions "Manhattan Reflections" and "Tranquility," inspired by McCoy Tyner's work. Or the reference to Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage in "When I Look in Your Eyes." Though he remains open to new trends in jazz, Jamal's music always retains its essential uniqueness. While not to be ranked amongst his greatest works, Tranquility is a very fine recording and any opportunity to hear this master should not be missed. Along with bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer Frank Gant, Ahmad Jamal makes beautiful and accessible trio music conceived with great depth and clarity. ~ Lee Bloom